Do you suppose that Kamala Harris is a student of Jane Austen? The contingency, as Jeeves was wont to observe, is remote. Yet there is at least one passage from Pride and Prejudice that I’d wager Harris would appreciate. Towards the end of the novel, after she has accepted Mr Darcy’s proposal of marriage, Elizabeth confides the news to her sister Jane. Knowing how cordially Elizabeth had disliked Mr Darcy in days past, Jane is appalled.
‘Oh, Lizzy! it cannot be. I know how much you dislike him.’
‘You know nothing of the matter. That is all to be forgot. Perhaps I did not always love him so well as I do now. But in such cases as these, a good memory is unpardonable. This is the last time I shall ever remember it myself.’
The advent of Kamala Harris on the national stage is going to require a selective bad memory from a lot of people, not least Joe Biden. That’s one thing Biden has: a bad memory. But I would not be at all surprised if the Big Tech wardens in charge of what we can see and hear and think began censoring items such as the clip from the Democratic primary debate in which Harris lit into her forthcoming boss on the issue of busing.
Back in the day, Joe Biden opposed busing. Harris said she benefited from it, that Biden had supported ‘segregationists’, that if he’d had his way, neither she nor Cory Booker nor Barack Obama would have made it to the Senate. (‘For of all sad words of tongue or pen,/The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’)
The Harris-Biden exchange was not particularly illuminating, but it does illustrate the delicate balancing act that is going to have to be maintained if the Potemkin village of the incoming administration is going to remain standing. This is important, because upon it will depend the credibility of the Biden-Harris, or Harris-Biden, administration. Having a bad memory is going to be absolutely crucial.
Once upon a time, when she was attorney general of California, it was important for Kamala Harris to appear ‘tough on crime’. To achieve that end, she was not above concealing exculpatory evidence that might exonerate some of the denizens of the state’s death row. That is unlikely to feature in the Vogue cover stories of the new VP or in rapturous interviews with her on CNN. Soon after the election, Harris emitted a remarkable tweet enumerating the ‘ideals that will guide a [Biden–Harris] administration’. To wit:
Hope. Unity. Decency. Truth.
Had she been studying the left’s favorite how-to manual, 1984? One alert commentator raised that possibility when he juxtaposed this passage from Orwell’s novel with a list of Democratic buzzwords.
‘Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely…
Orwell would have delighted in the spurious invocation of ‘science’ in the left’s single biggest assault on prosperity, the Green New Deal, a cornerstone of the Biden-Harris platform, to say nothing of its weaponization in the lockdowns, mask mandates and general hysteria that have informed our response to COVID-19.
Again, it will be interesting to see what steps Big Tech takes to cleanse the internet of contrary evidence. There was not, for example, an abundance of decency on view in Sen. Harris’s vicious attack on Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings. I checked, and some of that footage is still available, but various clips tweeted out by a president of the United States, Donald Trump, have been flushed into the great digital oubliette with the notice ‘account suspended’.
The biggest challenge for memory will be about violence. Keeping which acts of violence are OK, indeed commendable, separate from those which are not OK and must be regarded as totally reprehensible is going to be a tall order. Back in June, when burning cities, torching police cars and maiming policemen with lasers was all the rage, Kamala Harris gloated that the riots are ‘not going to stop’.
‘They’re not going to stop. This is a movement, I’m telling you. They’re not gonna stop. And everyone beware because they’re not gonna stop. They’re not gonna stop before Election Day and they’re not going to stop after Election Day. And everyone should take note of that. They’re not gonna let up and they should not.’
That was after a dozen people had been killed and billions of dollars’ worth of property had been wrecked in the antifa-BLM riots. That was OK because George Floyd/systemic racism/white supremacy. But the accountants and housewives and vets in the Capitol? They are ‘insurrectionists’ and ‘domestic terrorists’, as are the senators who supported a full inquiry into the flawed 2020 election.
Don’t worry, though. No one will remember, certainly not Kamala Harris. Why should she? She won’t get Pemberley, but the Naval Observatory is a nice place to live while waiting for the funeral baked meats to furnish forth the tables at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Editor’s note: an earlier version of this story misattributed a quote to George Orwell. This article was originally published in The Spectator’s February 2021 US edition.