Kathleen OKeeffe
6 min readAug 15, 2020

Right out of the gate Kamala uses three words that matter in her acceptance speech, “honored,” “responsibility,” and “work.” Immediately she recognizes the augustness of the role as the Vice President of the United States. She is honored, it is a privilege, and with that comes responsibility. The current president has literally said that he takes no responsibility in the face of a deadly pandemic, an appalling admission for a person in that position. Even the most basic, and simplistic response, would garner some praise, but he goes all out and admits that he feels no obligation to do anything despite the enormous powers of his office while Americans die needlessly. She gives a hat tip to all of the “ambitious” women who have come before her, a code word middle finger to some of the old guard in the Democratic Party, which is not immune from the handcuffs of the patriarchy. “Sacrifice, determination, and resilience.” She easily could have stolen Elizabeth Warren’s “she persisted,” but the triple boom of these three words emphasize the work that it takes to get out from under the lead blanket of systemic oppression of women and people of color in this country.

“Real consequence.” She gets right to the brass tacks that matter to everyone. Results. Consequences. How does everything affect me? My family? Our future? Our country? The two headed monster of the pandemic and the economic disaster have “plunged” us into a crisis deeper than the Great Depression, the benchmark for the single worst event in the country apart from the Civil War. Not only are we the victims of a highly transmissable, deadly disease, but we are also the victims of the “president’s mismanagement.” The most fundamental response, even simply modeling good behavior, could have mitigated the effects both in public and economic health, and kept us all from this literal death spiral. Partner that with the incitement of violence in response to Black Lives Matter protests, which are largely peaceful, and you have the most toxic, vitriolic conflict that our country knows activated at about the worst possible time. She uses “moral reckoning” and “conscience” as descriptions of our collective need, contrasted with a complete lack of morals and conscience in our leader at a time when we need moral clarity and conscience the most. America is “crying out for leadership,” literally and figuratively. There is pain and anguish in the land, and the emperor has no clothes.

As usual Kamala gets right to the point. The president has no interest in leading, he only cares about himself. And not only is he…