We already knew Vice President Kamala Harris is a cheap-shot artist. Now we also know she’s a coward.
It was Harris more than anyone else who catalyzed the most recent national media frenzy against Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), alleging that educational standards he implemented in Florida taught that “enslaved people benefited from slavery.” We have shown multiple times in these pages that the claim is a malicious lie. Harris and her mendacious chorus took a single sentence completely out of context.
The sentence not only doesn’t say what they claim it does, but it is remarkably similar to sentences used in documents from sources of which the Left itself approves, such as the Library of Congress, the National Park Service, the National Humanities Center — and, we now know, the very Advanced Placement standards for African American history that the Left has spent months insisting should be used in Florida.
In context, there is no way anyone could honestly claim that the Florida standards are in any way meant to suggest that slavery had an even mildly sunny side. Instead, the standards repeatedly emphasize the awful legacy of “slavery, racial oppression, racial segregation, and racial discrimination.” That is as to be expected, considering that the parts of the standards at issue were adopted by a panel led by black scholars about whom it makes zero sense to make the accusation that they somehow believe slavery was beneficial.
And when black scholars write standards for black history and explain exactly why they chose the language they did, with both the language itself and their explanation directly rejecting the false interpretation Harris assigned to them, it takes outrageous gall for Harris to insist they meant the very opposite of what they said.
Either way, if Harris really believes the claptrap she continues to spew about the standards created by DeSantis’s committee, she should have the decency and gumption to make her case when challenged on it. DeSantis, who can show by overwhelming evidence that the standards neither say nor mean what Harris claims they do, challenged Harris to a debate on the topic. Knowing she has no honest case, Harris instead scurried into hiding while saying she would not debate the topic of slavery with DeSantis or anyone else.
But DeSantis didn’t say slavery was debatable. He said his state’s curriculum was debatable because Harris herself had smeared it.
Now we, unlike Harris, can be fair by acknowledging there are shards of arguments Harris might justifiably make. If she wants to argue that one or two of DeSantis’s committee appointees may not have been superlative, that’s fine. If she wants to question the accuracy of some of the board members’ scholarship, that’s fine. If she even wants to argue, through otherwise tendentious ideological lenses, that “there’s a lot missing” from the standards that should be there, well, have at it. Those three arguments at least have peripheral bearing on the worthiness of the standards.
Harris, though, won’t even do that. To make those arguments one-on-one with DeSantis would just expose how tangential they are to the main subject, which is her demonstrably dishonest claim that the standards and the curriculum somehow make excuses for slavery. By refusing to debate, Harris essentially acknowledges that her attack was a form of political drive-by shooting, not a serious or rational engagement in philosophical combat.
Harris committed calumny against DeSantis here, with no regard for truth. Her attacks were catnip for the liberal media but entirely meretricious. With this shameful combination of prevarication and pusillanimity, she confirms her reputation as a political figure worthy only of disdain.