"Who is Kamala Harris?"

If you’re not sure how to feel yet about Senator Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his vice-presidential running mate for the 2020 Presidential Election, then I’m right there with you.

During the primaries, we saw the far left of the Democratic Party criticize Harris as an “untrustworthy” cop because of her background and long career as district attorney and attorney general. On the other hand, Harris has described herself, in her previous career, as a “progressive prosecutor,” a label many would disagree with. So who exactly is Kamala Harris, and what’s her deal?

As an individual who supports all progressive reforms, I’m still mourning my main man, Bernie. But as a pragmatic and practical individual, I know I need to move on and face the facts. The upcoming Presidential Election, a crucial one, is coming up quick, and I need to know how Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are going to carry us through such a pivotal moment in our country. Neither Biden nor Harris ran for the primaries on progressive reforms, so are they willing to align their stances with more left-wing policies, despite their proclivity for centrist ideals?

While Harris has some good intentions, her problem is that she lacks a backbone. Take a look at her former body camera program; Harris called on the officers working under her agency to adopt a body camera program, but she didn’t require the program to be mandatory for all local police officers, only the ones working directly under her. She justified this, warning against a “one-size-fits-all” solution, claiming that law enforcement leaders in specific regions should use their discretion to figure out what technology and policies make sense for them. I don’t know...seems like she had an intent to effect change and reform the system, but when it actually came down to it, she leaned away from the follow through, arguably the most important point.

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Harris’ history as a prosecutor is important. During her time as district attorney, she perfected the action of saying the right thing, without any of the vigor of a follow through. Is this what we need during the largest protest movement in America? A wishy-washy VP who has done little to assuage the concerns of those wary of her “cop” background? She might have swung left during her time in the Senate, supporting police reform and speaking out against police brutality, but what about her previous policing policies that arrested the parents of truant teens, many of whom are overwhelmingly black and brown and economically struggling? Not at a time like this, no. What concerns me the most about Harris’ wishy-washiness is that it reads as spineless. Where do her core values lie? Does she even have any? While some might feel confident in Harris’ diverse and cultural background, I haven’t seen her champion racial justice consistently enough to be nothing more than a symbolic representation of the movement. We need more.

With love,
Hailee

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