A Brief Synopsis of Harris and the General State of American Politics
Joe Biden has finally decided on his vice-presidential candidate— Kamala Harris. Harris gained clout during this year’s Democratic primary but is preceded by a notorious record as a California Attorney General, and a mixed tenure as California Senator.
Biden, 78-years-old and seemingly in cognitive decline (along with his equally ancient orange-skinned opponent), will likely need to rely on the strong-headed Harris for much of his presidency. The former Vice President’s need for assistance compounded with the high chances he could die in the office make this the most important vice-presidential nomination in recent years.
The 2020 election is especially important after considering current factors like the Trump administration’s failure to cope with Covid-19, protests calling for radical police reform and growing tensions with Russia and China (though it is worth noting that many journalists doubt the validity of the foundation for these tensions with foreign leaders, pointing to unsourced stories, lying government agencies, and general confusion as indicators that these tensions are partially fabricated).
Harris is a Black-Asian-American Woman, which, in an ideal world, wouldn’t matter. But the world is far less than ideal. Bigotry, racism, and sexism are dominant components in most of our power structures. So, to prove that race doesn’t matter, America must put people of minority groups in power, which then means that those things actually do matter.
On an individual level, it’s all paradoxical nonsense because an American should not have their identity hyphenated by prefixes like “African” or “Asian”. They are citizens of The United States, a statement that should inherently evoke thoughts of diversity. Unfortunately, on the national political level of today’s America, these things do matter for the sake of our positive and growing movement towards racial and ethnic equality.
The fact that Harris’ nomination is a huge step forward for the minorities in our community, however, does not liberate her from the criticism of her past.
Harris is a 55-year-old senator from California, where she was born and raised. Formerly, she held the position of District Attorney of San Francisco, where she gained notoriety for several unethical practices. Among those unjust practices are detaining over 1,500 people for marijuana (in California of all places), keeping people in prisons for longer than their sentences to use them for cheap labor (while increasing the already disproportionate amount of black men who were arrested), and blocking evidence that could have freed a man on death row, all of which Rep. Tulsi Gabbard pointed out during presidential debates. The private prison system was largely set in place to replace slavery. Marijuana arrests affect Black and Hispanic people at disproportionate rates and are laughably outdated. In fact, the idea that somebody should be imprisoned for using cannabis is so laughable, Kamala Harris got a chuckle herself when she later admitted to experimenting with the devil’s lettuce
While Harris has been at the root of some despicable acts of government during her time as “Top Cop” (a nickname she gave herself), she has also been at the root of some good. This includes her negotiations with the nation’s five biggest banks in forcing them to “pay” $20 billion to the state of California rather than the initial offer of $2 billion, though many would argue that the banks had a much steeper price to pay.
She also has an outstanding record of standing up for environmental protection and believes in universal healthcare, which she claims would be paid for through taxing Wall Street and the super-wealthy (a plan she seems to have taken right from the Sanders bill that she originally supported). Biden, however, has been outspoken against universal healthcare, even during this global pandemic and the resulting joblessness that has stripped many Americans of their employer-supplied insurance.
In the end, despite a record of general hypocrisy and lack of ethical humanity, Harris seems to be just another politician. In fact, it might be that very lack of support for the People that has turned her into a successful politician. She exploits the oppressed in order to benefit the powerful. She goes back on her word. She is a hypocrite. And all of those three things can be said about most of our government because our government is a swirling mass of corruption, bullshit, and chaos. Nobody who has been there long enough can prevent the poisonous evil of politics from infecting their soul. Worse, the few who do survive in the tarpit of the national government and remain untainted and true to the people they represent are often depicted as crazy or they are blatantly lied about by “reputable journalists”.
The race to become the leader of the free world boils down to two out-of-touch old men with rapidly declining cognitive abilities, each of them with running mates that are divisive within their respective parties. Biden, Trump, Pence, and Harris are all bad choices. Democrats argue that so is everybody else, so we might as well support the Biden-Harris ticket. Therein lies the point I’m making…
Our only choices for leaders in the federal government are flawed characters who are blatantly corrupted by big money that directly stems from war involvement, foreign oil, pharmaceutical companies, and other large corporations. Our leaders are not held accountable for their financial ties, nor are they justly questioned for their scandalous histories that are often soaked in the very things we are trying to fight against, including racism and sexism.
For every good thing a politician has done, there are ten terrible things that came before it. Harris isn’t the problem. Neither is Trump or Biden. The system they come from is to blame, a system that rewards unfounded foreign hostility, exploitation of impoverished Americans, adhering to corporate lobbyists, and generally screwing over the population they are sworn to serve.
Hunter S. Thompson once said that “in a Democracy, people usually get the kind of government they deserve”. Either Thompson is wrong, or our democracy is flawed, because the people of America deserve much better than this…