VP Kamala Harris caused a stir with her tweet yesterday, “Have a nice [holiday] weekend!”, none of the usual politician talk of “Let us pause to reflect as we honor those who gave their lives for their country.” But I really don’t see why people are so surprised.
I don’t think this error of commission was deliberate. Instead, it’s a matter of how Harris views the world and the nation. She is the leftist daughter of two leftists. The military theme of the holiday is the last thing that would come to mind for her. It’s just a three-day weekend.
No doubt, if an adviser had suggested that she make an appropriate remark, she would have come up with something, say a visit to Arlington or a Bay Area military cemetery, or maybe commemorating a Black hero of some war or even the Japanese-American soldiers who fought heroically in WW II. Impossible to imagine, say, AOC doing even that.
As our nation becomes more and more polarized, we will find that more and more of our elected officials, on both the Left and the Right will be, shall we say, “nontraditional.” If someone had told me 10 or 15 years ago that we’d have members of Congress like AOC and Ilhan Omar, I’d be in total disbelief. And former Pres. Trump was nontraditional too, with his larger-than-life persona, and his being the subject of much criticism from the Right in the 2015-2016 election campaign that he was not a “real” conservative.
A related point about the nontraditional nature of many of today’s elected officials is immigrant status. Omar was a refugee, and Harris’ parents were immigrants. Quite a contrast to the many-generational roots of most presidents before Obama, a rather inbred group. One point in the 2000 election was that Bush and Gore were actually distant cousins.
So, what will less-deep American roots mean for US politicians in the coming years? As someone who has lived in immigrant households all my life, I know that children of immigrants tend to have different views of the world and nation than do sons and daughters of natives, and yes, possibly have less of an emotional connection to those who perished in past US wars. On the other hand, many immigrants are even more patriotic than the natives; say what you will about Harris’ folks, but their driving force was a keen desire to make America better.
So, Harris’ slip-up was actually rather telling. Some Americans will actually find it a refreshing change, while others may take it as an example of American decline. Take your pick. 🙂