By George Smith
Joe Biden’s choice for vice president will, in my opinion, determine the 2020 presidential election.
According to writers and commentarors, there have been more than 12 women in the running, a majority of which are women of color.
From former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to Georgia Democratic Party heroine Stacey Abrams, and from political warhorse and favorite target of President Trump Elizabeth to Florida Sen. Val Demimgs, a former Tampa police chief, the list is impressive.
My personal preference is Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth who brings a sterling array of untouchable attributes to the free-for-all.
Duckworth is a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who was profiled in Vogue Magazine this way:
“There are so many firsts attached to Tammy Duckworth—she’s the Senate’s first member to give birth while in office, its first member born in Thailand (to an American father and a Thai mother of Chinese descent), and, of course, its first female amputee. It’s that last distinction that tends to overwhelm all the others. As a wounded veteran with a Purple Heart, she has introduced or cosponsored bills protecting the rights of veterans—and she’s been fearless in confronting the president over military and foreign affairs.
“Last January, when President Trump accused the Democrats of holding the military hostage over immigration, it was Duckworth who took to the Senate floor, declaring in a now-historic speech, ‘I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger.’”
Duckworth gave birth to her daughter Maile at age 50; she also is mom to daughter Abigail, 3.
She cuts an impressive figure wherever she goes, striding forcefully around the Senate Office Building on her two titanium legs or in a souped-up scooter. Imagine, just imagine, her in a debate with Mike Pence, who preaches patriotism but never served in the military. (However, more thsn once he has praised his father’s Bronze star and noted his son was a Marine.)
Duckworth was deployed to serve in the Iraq War in 2004 and lost both of her legs when her helicopter was struck by hostile fire. Duckworth became director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs in 2006, and three years later President Barack Obama appointed her assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In 2012, she was elected to Congress, representing Illinois’ 8th District. Four years later, she was elected U.S. senator, thereby becoming the first disabled woman and the second Asian-American woman in the Senate.
Every woman on Biden’s VP list brings impressive credentials. Duckworth, however, covers a larger demographic appeal — woman of color, military veteran, decorated war hero, working mother, fiercely astute political asset and someone who would be difficult to attack on so many fronts.
My whimsical self can see this tiny package of dynamite in her first debate with up-tight Mile Pence. She is smiling, waiting patiently like an on-alert cobra, ready to strike a cautious mouse.