Kamala Harris Is No Mistake


Gage Skidmore

Democratic nominee Joe Biden announced Senator Kamala Harris would serve as his running mate in mid-August.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden made headlines mid-August when he announced Senator Kamala Harris would serve as his running mate. His monumental, albeit expected, decision to choose Harris – the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated by a major political party – is an attempt to create excitement among both Democrats and middle-ground voters.

Yet some are critical of Harris’s background in law enforcement, and at a time of wide-spread reckoning over the role of police in society, her appointment has caused many to question who she really represents: the institutions that have long brutalized racial minorities, or these same racial minorities who are demanding reform in these institutions?

The answer, however, is neither. While Harris has received a fair share of skepticism from both sides of the political spectrum, she represents the American ideal of open-mindedness, and for that, she should be embraced by both Democrats and Republicans alike.

Harris is no foreigner to controversy. She was San Francisco’s district attorney when a gang member killed a police officer with an AK-47. Shortly after, Harris announced that her office would not pursue the death penalty for the perpetrator. The public was outraged and appalled; even Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein urged her to reconsider. Yet she stood firm, arguing that the death penalty harmed Black communities.

A decade later, however, Harris, then the Attorney General of California, appealed a court decision that ruled the death penalty unconstitutional. This seemingly contradictory decision forced many to wonder whether she truly supported minorities or if her main focus was appeasing constituents. Worse yet, was she failing at doing either?

However, I believe these actions are far from contradictory. Instead, they are the fruits of growth. As Harris campaigns across America, some may be concerned that her policies on criminal justice reform have changed drastically from a once tough-on-crime approach. In recent years, her stance has shifted especially as she transitions from prosecutor to politician. However, the fluidity of her politics is nothing to be feared.

Harris’ courage to cross political boundaries and willingness to change beliefs is a trait that should be admired by all, regardless of political association. After all, given the divisiveness of the modern political atmosphere, flexibility is sacred.

From a time when a Black woman could not vote, to today, when there lies a possibility that she can serve as Vice President of the United States, it’s undeniable that America has grown. So it is only fitting that the woman who represents this change, Kamala Harris, models that growth.