Sunday’s big news story: Kamala Harris’s family? Yes. During this evidently slow news period, the lead National section story in Sunday’s New York Times is “Meet the Groundbreaking New Second Family.”
This “news” story is by Jessica Bennett, described as “a Times editor at large covering women and culture. She writes about personalities, politics, social trends and the workplace -- through a gender lens.” (Does she ever: Bennett has also defended, in nauseating fashion, disgraced Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, polyamorous sexual relationships involving a campaign staffer, and possibly her legislative director as well.)
When Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president, she will represent many firsts: First woman vice president. First Black woman. First woman of Indian descent. But there is another milestone that will be on display: that of her family.
As Ms. Harris ascends to this barrier-breaking role, with her loved ones looking on, millions of Americans will see a more expansive version of the American family staring back at them -- one that could broaden rigid ideas of politically palatable family dynamics or gender roles.
Her family is ready for the moment. Ms. Harris’s niece, Meena Harris, has been sporting a “Vice President Aunty” T-shirt in the lead-up. Her stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff, an art student in New York, planned to knit a suit for the occasion (she opted for a dress). Kerstin Emhoff, the mother of Ms. Harris’s stepchildren -- yes, Ms. Harris and her husband’s ex are friends -- may tuck a sprig of sage in her purse; she is quite sure the Capitol could use a smudging.
The hard-bidden journalism didn't stop there, as Harris is patted on the back for having relatives:
For his part, Mr. Emhoff -- who, during much of the Democratic primary, had a sticker on his phone case that read “A Woman’s Place is in the White House” -- seems to have no problem playing the role of supportive husband. When asked by a 9-year-old last fall what he would do if his wife became vice president, he replied, “I’m just gonna do what I always do … I’m going to support her.”
They passed the time with games, karaoke, food -- and waited, anxiously, for the official results of an election that would catapult this family unit to a greater level of visibility. “There was one night that just turned into a dance party,” Cole said.
In other words, just a family hanging out -- hoping for history to be made.
The life they knew before will cease to exist in just a few short days -- but they will try to to maintain some normalcy. Doug and Kamala are the only members of the immediate family who will live in Washington full-time. Sunday dinners -- a family tradition that now takes place over Zoom -- will continue, though Ms. Harris may have slightly less time to make her famous chiles rellenos in her new role.
The warm, women's magazine tone extended to the end. Well, at least some people won't be condemned for mispronouncing the soon-to-be Veep's first name:
Ms. Harris is still “Momala” to her stepchildren and “Auntie” to her nieces, nephews and godchildren. And Meena Harris has learned not to experiment with calling her aunt “Kamala.”
“She will whip her head around. She’s like, ‘My name is Auntie, and I will not have you calling me Kamala!’”
She’s got a new name, anyway, Meena said: Madam V.P. Auntie.
News you can use, truly. As a bonus, Bennett also conducted an interview with Harris’s step-children: "What’s It Like to Have Kamala Harris As ‘Momala’? We Asked Her Stepkids."