“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Presidential candidate Joe Biden wrote in a tweet.
With these words, the internet went into chaos.
Kamala Harris, a California native, is the first Black and Asian woman to be nominated for a major party’s presidential ticket. Many people knew her from the Senate hearings or during her run for president before she suspended her campaign last year.
The reactions to the announcement were mixed, but no one was surprised. The centrists celebrated the news; Harris has executive and legislative experience, and the ticket is perfect. The progressives weren’t satisfied; they wanted someone, well, more progressive and someone who has a better track record, according to The Atlantic.
Voters shouldn’t judge her based on some Instagram post or an ad tweeted by President Trump. Harris has a conflicting history, but the ultimate decision is in the voters’ hands.
Kamala Harris was born into a family of immigrants. Her mother was a cancer researcher from India and her father was a professor at Stanford, born in Jamaica, according to CBS News. They were both civil rights activists and met at a Berkeley protest, but divorced when their career paths split. Harris was 7, and she and her sister Maya lived with their mom.
“She’d work all day, then pour her whole heart into Maya and me when she got home,” Harris said on the topic of her mother. “And then after we were fed and in bed, our mother would sit up trying to figure out how to make it all work.”
While she lived with her single mother and sister, she was also living through historical times. The memorable and heartfelt moment at the first Democratic Presidential Debate touched many of her supporters.
“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day,” she said. “And that little girl was me.”
However, that personal experience didn’t help her among Black voters, a crucial group to winning the White House this November. Many Black voters identified their interests with Vice President Joe Biden because of his connection with President Obama.
The actions Harris has taken as a prosecutor also lead many people to doubt her authenticity during her run for president and now as a vice presidential nominee. During her time as the San Francisco District Attorney, Harris had a belief that drug crimes were not victimless crimes, and as a result, the conviction rate for felons rose by 26%; for drug dealers, 18%, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
When she was the Attorney General in California, she argued in favor of the death penalty and opposed legislation requiring her office to investigate police shootings, which are both frowned upon by progressive Democrats, according to the New York Times.
Although her record is not clean, Harris has done things others couldn’t or didn’t want to do.
As a district attorney, she established one of the first LGBTQ+ hate crimes units. She stood up against the fossil fuel industry, won a $20 billion settlement against big banks that were illegally foreclosing homes and got over $1 billion from a for-profit college company for false advertising.
Apart from her accomplishments in San Francisco and California as a whole, Harris’s most known moments are from the Senate hearings. She was known to ask tough questions for Attorney General William Barr and Justice Brett Kavanaugh that left them dumbfounded.
She also sponsored bills such as the Fair and Accurate Census Act, the COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force Act of 2020, the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2020, the Ending Homelessness Act of 2019 and the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2019, according to the U.S. Senate website.
In addition to her work in Congress, Harris is a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ and children’s rights. Her role as a prosecutor makes her a great speaker and debater, which will allow her to create a strong presence at the Vice Presidential debate.
Like any politician, Kamala Harris has a conflicting background. No one knows how that will impact this election as we still have months of campaigning to go. Only the voters get to decide who they trust to restore the soul of this nation.