It can be easy to forget, given the political whirlwind of the present moment, just how groundbreaking the addition of Sen. Kamala Harris is to the Democratic presidential ticket.


Harris is only the fourth woman on a presidential ticket, following Geraldine Ferraro, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton. She’s the first Black woman to be included and the first Asian-American as well.


The former attorney general of California, Harris ran a noteworthy if short-lived presidential campaign before dropping out and supporting nominee Joe Biden.


President Trump has wasted no time in adding sexist and racist commentary. He wondered if men might be insulted by the addition of a woman to a presidential ticket (one wonders why he wouldn’t wonder if women were insulted by so many men running over the decades). He raised the possibility that she might not be allowed to run because her parents were immigrants.


This is precisely the kind of commentary that we as a nation must avoid.


Harris should rise or fall based on her qualifications and her record. Using gender-based words or references that demean or belittle this accomplished person harms our national discourse. For far too long, broad swaths of the public have been unwilling to see women as full participants in political life. That can't continue.


What’s more, the selection of Harris should make it clear that Republicans have some serious catching up to do. Regardless of our political affiliation, we should all recognize the positives of having a candidate who reflects our nation’s diversity. So why does the GOP showcase so little of it?


The run-up to the Nov. 3 general election will be equal parts exhilarating and exhausting, depending on the party and the polls of the moment. We will see Trump and Biden clash, and Harris match wits with Vice President Mike Pence. Words will be exchanged and emotions heightened.


But we can’t forget what it means to have a Black woman on the ticket of a major political party. Harris is making history, and inspiring a new generation of leaders.


As for gender-based attacks, given her fiery debate performances earlier this year, we expect that the senator will have some choice words for those who would demean her. It will be a compelling journey.