Kamala Harris spoke at the National Education Association’s annual meeting in Chicago on Tuesday. Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff was along for the ride. After her appearance with the NEA, the Second Couple made a surprise visit to Highland Park to offer comfort and support to the mayor and others.
Even in the midst of a national tragedy, such as the mass shooting in Highland Park during the Chicago suburb’s Independence Day parade, Kamala found an opportunity to do some campaigning. She, like Joe Biden, finds it impossible to make a speech without slamming Republicans. It’s as though they can’t help themselves. Kamala told those in attendance at the NEA meeting that Republican leaders are ‘extremists’ who refuse to “boost teacher pay, ban assault rifles, and go after Roe v. Wade.” Teacher pay is a state and local issue, Kammie.
She told the teachers that the ‘extremist so-called “leaders” need to attend a civics lesson.’ Ugh. The vice-president went on to describe our government as a democracy, so there’s that.
‘While you work hard to teach the principles of liberty and freedom in your classroom, these so-called “leaders” are taking freedoms away: freedom away from women and the freedom to make decisions over their own bodies, freedom away from a kindergarten-to-third-grade teacher in Florida to love openly and with pride; and away from every American as they intentionally try to make it more difficult for folks to vote,’ Harris said.
‘I actually think it would benefit us all if they sat in your classroom for a few days to remember how a democracy works,’ Harris said.
She echoed what President Joe Biden said Monday to mark the Fourth of July – that sometimes a nation goes backward to go forward again.
‘As educators, you know, we all know that history has never been an unbroken line toward progress; that even when we have advances, there will be setbacks. In certain times, those setbacks being more drastic than in others,’ she said. ‘This is one of those moments, but we will not be deterred.’
She spoke about gun violence and gun control. Remember, she is speaking in Chicago, a city with strict gun laws and out-of-control gun violence.
And we all grieve, I know, for the lives that are forever changed in that community, including, of course, the students and the teachers of that community who have suffered great loss,’ Harris said.
‘And I don’t need to tell NEA: We need to end this horror. We need to stop this violence,’ she continued. ‘And we must protect our communities from the terror of gun violence.’
‘You know, I’ve said it before: Enough is enough,’ the vice president added.
She pointed to the recent bipartisan gun control bill – but said it didn’t go far enough, calling for the assault weapons ban to be reinstated.
Deep thoughts from Kamala – Enough is enough.
She went on to travel to Highland Park. Would she have gone if she wasn’t already in Chicago to speak to the NEA? Biden hasn’t announced a visit yet, nor has Jill Biden. Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said that she was appreciative of Harris’ message to first responders because the scene was ‘unbelievably gruesome.’
‘We’re here for you and we stand with you,’ Harris told police and other officials gathered near the crime scene. ‘And of course as we always say – because it is true – our prayers are with you.’
Strollers, children’s bikes and other toys were still scattered along the brick sidewalk, where they were left Monday when the gunman started shooting.
‘There’s a lot of healing that’s going to have to happen that is both physical and emotional,’ the vice president continued. ‘There is no question that this experience is going to linger in terms of the trauma – so I’d like to urge all the families and all of the individuals to seek the support that you so rightly deserve.’
Even when she’s trying, her words come out awkwardly. At least she didn’t randomly cackle.
Kamala called for a national ban on ‘assault weapons’. The Mayor of Highland Park is of the same opinion. She has worked since 2013 to ban them in Highland Park.That ban went all the way to the Supreme Court and Clarence Thomas wrote the dissent. Kamala mentioned the gun manufacturers’ liability shield to the NEA as something that should be repealed.
“We’ve got to be smarter as a country in terms of who has access to what, in particular assault weapons,” said Harris, who was joined by Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and other Democratic politicians. “And we’ve got to take this stuff seriously. The whole nation should understand and have a level of empathy to understand that this could happen anywhere in any peace-loving community. And we should stand together and speak out about why it’s got to stop.”
Earlier in the day, Harris called for reinstituting a national assault weapon ban.
“We have more to do. We have more to do. Congress needs to have the courage to act and renew the assault weapons ban,” Harris told a group of educators at the National Education Association conference at McCormick Place in Chicago. “We need reasonable gun safety laws. And we need to have Congress stop protecting those gun manufacturers with the liability shield. Repeal it. Repeal it.”
An interesting fact that has emerged from this tragedy is that not only was the mayor once the shooter’s Cub Scout leader, but the shooter’s father ran against the mayor in 2019. Highland Park is described as a close-knit community.