Vice President’s Short Theatre Performance In Jacksonville

Harris spoke at the tiny Ritz Theatre & Museum outside downtown Jacksonville.

Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.

— Steve’s Marketplace —

It’s no laughing matter when the vice president of the United States comes to your town – except when it is Kamala Harris.

The kookie, cackling second-in-command leader came all the way to Jacksonville last Friday to address a gravely important topic. Slavery. And how the subject is addressed in statewide schoolbooks, based on the Florida Board of Education’s new standards.

You would expect her to speak about the border, or crime, or fentanyl, or Ukraine, or inflation, or maybe even Hunter Biden. But nothing that timely or interesting.

Harris spoke at the tiny Ritz Theatre & Museum outside downtown Jacksonville. The adoring local media described it as a packed house. It didn’t focus on the capacity of the theater: 420 seats. Heck, they get more spectators at the lorikeet exhibit at the Jacksonville Zoo.

The media described how people had to stand. However, these were probably Secret Service agents and other security detail.

And the speech was riddled with inconsistencies and exaggerations. Harris took one line from the school curriculum handbook and focused on it. It cited certain slaves gaining valuable skills during their indentured time. Harris called the contention “propaganda” in a 25-minute speech that probably felt like two hours. 

Harris has been delegated as the “Border Czar,” but rarely talks about this or her other work. When she does, she speaks to people like they are second graders.

Her overly demonstrative gestures are intertwined with a trademark laugh. And she mixes and mashes her words into what are unaffectionately named “word salads.” 

Our globetrotting governor took issue with the speech, and Harris’ appearance here. Gov. Ron DeSantis, out seeking the Republican nomination, seized the opportunity to criticize the Biden administration – and to take attention away from his failing campaign.

“Democrats like Kamala Harris have to lie about Florida’s educational standards,” DeSantis said, “to cover for their agenda of indoctrinating students and pushing sexual topics onto children.”

Following up on the comments by DeSantis, the chairman of the Florida GOP summarized his feelings this way: “Instead of visiting the border and stopping the millions of illegal aliens and fentanyl pouring across our border,” said Christian Ziegler, “the Border Czar has hopped on the first flight down to Florida in order to lecture Floridian parents that their children belong to the government and the government has a right to indoctrinate and sexualize our children.” 

Even Jacksonville mayor Donna Deegan didn’t attend the speech. Deegan reportedly had a prior engagement, like maybe counting the homeless people in downtown. However, Deegan greeted Harris when she arrived at Jacksonville International Airport. 

And then the new Democrat mayor gave her best Harris impersonation. “I think it’s hard to hear words like you hear…” Deegan said in a tasty word salad.

The restored Ritz regularly brings in comedy shows. If you want a fun night out, you can see the upcoming “LaVilla Laughs Comedy Show” or “Phatt Katz Comedy” (but bring your own security). These afford laughs and zaniness – and are intended that way.

The performance by Harris was not.


Steve Nicklas is the managing partner of Nicklas Wealth Management in Fernandina Beach. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns also regularly appear in weekly newspapers in Northeast Florida and in Southeast Georgia, and on his website at He has published a book, “All About Money,” of his favorite columns from the past 20 years. The book is available on Amazon. He has also done financial reports for area radio stations and for National Public Radio in Jacksonville. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 904-753-0236.