Kamala Harris: For the people, or for herself?
ART BY TIFFANY CHAN
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this piece are not a reflection of the bravery views of Paw Prints Weekly as a whole. They are the sole views of the author. Paw Prints Weekly celebrates a diverse audience and staff, and it supports the declaration of the duties and rights of a Journalist per the U.S. Constitution.
Is that what our country’s political system has come to? From government bail-outs to illegal wars in the Middle East, our democratic system has been fanned by corporates and politicians’ self-interests. Now, as both Democrats and Republicans alike announce their campaigns for the 2020 presidency, it is high time to choose the right person to lead this country.
A right leader is not someone whose morals are superseded by corporate handouts.
A right leader is someone who practices what they speak in a time where hypocrisy is the most prevalent.
Yet, in Oakland, California, the words “Kamala Harris: for the people” echo throughout the streets as residents give support to the Oakland-native politician.
But California Senator Kamala Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign slogan couldn’t be more hypocritical. As the then-district attorney of San Francisco, then-State Attorney General of California, Harris has fawned over the label of “progressive prosecutor.” However, despite the brevity of the “for the people” platitudes she espouses, Harris is not a progressive prosecutor. Like many of her fellow politicians, Harris’ equivocal narrative underlines a looming corruptness of power within politics.
And this hypocrisy does not go unnoticed. Since announcing her presidential campaign in late January, her socially liberal views on mass incarceration and recreational marijuana use has gained massive praise from the public. However, five years ago, this tune of liberal philosophy that she now proudly platforms was the same legislation Harris starkly detracted.
Even before taking office as Senator, Harris broke numerous glass ceilings in politics, especially in terms of racial discrimination. She became the first African-American district attorney (DA) of San Francisco in 2003, as well as the first African-American woman to take office as the State Attorney General (AG) of California.
Regardless, Harris’ fervor of pushing racial equality within America harshly contrasts her actions as attorney general. In a 2014 interview, when asked about recreational marijuana use, Harris scoffed at the idea. Unsurprisingly, Harris, in the past, spearheaded the vilification of legal marijuana. Why? Simple. Because of her ties to law enforcement, Harris explicitly benefits from shelving the prison system.
How many lives have been destroyed by the war on drugs? More specifically, whose lives were destroyed by the war on drugs? African Americans.
Now, running on the platform that she is a progressive prosecutor, Harris is an advocate for federal decriminalization of marijuana. And in numerous recent interviews, Harris casually mentions her use of cannabis in college. While she actively used marijuana, she would, years later, prosecute individuals for the mere possession of the drug.
However, there are instances where Harris sought for rehabilitation instead of reprisal. In 2005, Harris instituted a “Back on Track” program, which provided in and out custody education to first-time drug offenders. According to California law, after committing a third felony, one is automatically sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Harris actively pushed to alleviate this legislation.
Yet, in a completely unexpected but truly characteristic turn of events, Harris fought with every available resource to reprimand a completely innocent man in 2010. Daniel Larsen, who was falsely convicted of possession of a concealed weapon, was sentenced to 27 years to life in 1999. After serving 12 years of his term, Larsen was released after overwhelming evidence of his innocence. Yet, before Larsen was released, Harris appeared at the ruling, strongly advocating for Larsen’s sentence to continue.
Funnily enough, Larsen’s absurdly lengthy sentence was predicated by the Three Strike Program. While Harris appeared to combat this during her time as Attorney General, she instead perpetrated its enforcement.
With all of these telling incidences during which Harris blatantly disregards her vote-generating propaganda, it’s no surprise that the eyes of citizens across the nation are warily rested on her during this presidential campaign.
Ever since Harris’ announcement of her 2020 presidential campaign, various news stations have blown up with stories that have detailed previous hypocritical actions that the now-notorious politician has committed, which shines immense light on her corrupt past to her now-nationwide audience.
With all of these defining past actions haunting Harris now, as she vies for what is perhaps the most sought after position in our American government system, it’s high time to make the needed reforms for not only our 2020 presidential candidates, but also our government.
Until high-position government officials can together overcome this recent trend of stacking lie on top of lie when selling themselves to the American public, candidates like Harris must individually understand the sheer impact of their contradicting actions first.
Without this first step of acknowledging the problem, her decision to run for one of the highest positions of government in the country could very well be jeopardized.