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How Kamala Harris Will Restore Humanity in the Oval Office

I was raised that it is not about charity and benevolence, it’s about your duty. No one’s going to congratulate you for it—it’s what you’re supposed to do.”

What matters most to Kamala Harris, 56, is that American citizens feel worthy and welcome for who they are. This is apparent through her unforgettable laugh and admirable evolution. As the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, Harris embodies so many firsts. She was California’s first Black, South Asian-American woman Attorney General and senator. Now, she is the Democratic candidate for Vice President.

President Trump actively denounces the existence of science and tells U.S. citizens not to protect themselves. His failure to act against the COVID-19 pandemic has left 8 out of 10 Americans “dissatisfied” with the state of the U.S., according to a new national survey undertaken by the Pew Research Center. When asked to align their feelings about the state of their country with other emotions, 71% of respondents said they felt angry, and 66% fearful.

It’s time that the U.S. has the female leader of color’s perspective in the White House. Kamala will not turn her back on a pandemic protection plan. She will not ignore an international health crisis. Kamala Harris will not be America’s ultimate savior. She will not be able to reverse a lifetime’s worth of damage from the last 4 years in a single term. But she is the best first step in the direction of an America that values empathy and equality.

So why is Kamala special? What exceptional policies does she plan to implement if elected? How do I know she is genuine and will follow through? How do I know I can trust her to care about us? Kamala Harris has crafted her VP action plan with ideas from numerous reformist leaders such as Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders; New Jersey Senator, Corey Booker; (NC-12) Rep., Alma Adams; Washington Governor, Jay Inslee; and Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren.


Kamala on Healthcare: Kamala watched her own mother pass from colon cancer, women’s healthcare is a top priority for her. She is in favor of maintaining the Affordable Care Act, which allows 2.3 million adult children under the age of 26 to remain on their parent’s plan. She will do everything in her power to keep the ACA in place as it is currently under attack by Republican governors and Attorney State Generals. Harris voted against the Republican tax bill, which repealed a key provision of the ACA. Without the ACA, insurance companies resume control which will leave millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions without coverage. She intends to hold insurance and pharmaceutical companies accountable for inflating the prices of healthcare and excluding more than 17 million children, 68 million women, and 32 million people aged 55-64. 

Kamala on Accountability: As a woman in power in a male-dominated field, the expectations Kamala upheld as a prosecutor were difficult to align with her progressive values. Relationships between police and District Attorneys are intrinsically combined. The inherently problematic structures ingrained in the policing system have only recently been exposed. For these reasons, Kamala has been heavily criticized for her record. The fact that Harris didn’t boldly confront police misconduct earlier in her career says less about her than about the country in which she lived. However, the disapproval has not discouraged her from being proud of herself for the work she has done to remove implicit bias and enforce fairness and equal treatment under the law.

Kamala’s push for a truancy program back in 2011 caused many to doubt her. Her concern was “if we don’t take seriously the need that we as a society should have to ensure that our children are receiving the benefit of an education, we will pay the price later.” Her program was effective in increasing school participation by 30%. Unfortunately, it had unintended consequences that disproportionately punished minorities. Several mothers of color with disabled children were arrested because their children missed too much school. 8 years ago, the mistreatment of minorities by law enforcement was not acknowledged the way it is today. Part of the reason why she was treating the symptoms instead of the root problems, is that’s what we make law enforcement do in this country.

“I regret that that has happened and the thought that anything I did could have led to that,” she added that her office never sent a parent to jail for truancy crimes during her tenure as San Francisco’s district attorney. What’s so awesome about Kamala is that she can admit her areas of weakness and how she will do better in the future. She does not deny or avoid. She has real, direct conversations with her concerned constituents. Because of her transparency and accountability, Harris does not allow herself to be affected by the pitfalls of sexist, racist tropes attributed to women of color. She continued to win elections and persevere. Kamala does Kamala. She has proven she has the capacity to be held accountable and evolve with time. This character trait is what makes her relatable. For example, if given the authority, she aims to implement a transformative, independent board that will investigate officer-involved shootings.

Kamala on Equality: Kamala believes women’s issues aren’t just about closing the wage gap (which by the way is still 81 cents for every dollar earned by men) and making a seat for women at the table. Women’s issues involve “healthcare, national security, economy, education, climate change, and more.” With the support of Planned Parenthood, she has vocalized the need for affordable access to reproductive health care and safe abortions for ALL women in the U.S. Kamala also proposed a plan to invest $1 billion to allow states to eliminate their rape kit backlogs within four years, as well as implement reforms such as quicker test results and giving survivors the right to know the status of their kits. Kamala is a woman FOR women. She wants to execute a National Paid Leave program for all workers, including part-time and independent contractors. Her plan guarantees women tending to new children and/or suffering from sexual abuse or domestic violence 6 months of paid family leave. This is huge, especially for young, working mothers. She wants to relieve families of spending more than 7% of their income on childcare if it falls under 150% of the state median. She also wants all women to make a livable wage, therefore, she would increase the minimum wage to $15/hr.

Speaking of equality, Kamala has always been a staunch ally and activist for the LGBT+ community. She has dedicated her life to fighting for human rights, and those do not stop at the LGBT+ community. She is in favor of same-sex marriage and the right for LGBT+ people to adopt children, own a house and serve in the military without discrimination. She condemns anti-LGBT+ violence and wants to eliminate conversion therapy. In 2004, she initiated a hate crimes unit to prosecute crimes against the community. She is a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, a congressional bill that would amend many nondiscrimination laws to include LGBTQI+ people and protect them in many areas uncovered to this date including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.

Kamala on the Environment: Fortunately, Harris recognizes climate change is arguably the most dangerous threat looming over our country in the present day. Kamala backs Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’ Green New Deal, which entails drastic measures that cut carbon emissions across the economy, from electricity generation to transportation to agriculture. In fact, Kamala has personally collaborated with AOC on a Climate Equity Act to reduce disparities between people affected by climate change. She committed to investing $10 trillion in public and private funding to build infrastructure, clean energy, and climate resilience measures—which she said will create millions of new jobs. She aims to use 100% carbon neutral electricity by 2030. She promises to hold polluters responsible and advocates for the eradication of carbon emissions by 2045. Lastly, she promotes the erasure of fossil fuel development on public lands.

Kamala is a woman of ethics with an extraordinary personality. She grew up fighting against injustice alongside her parents during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. She is adored by her sister, Maya Harris; her husband, Doug Emhoff; her husband’s ex-wife, Kerstin Emhoff; and her stepchildren who refer to her as “Momala.” It is clear she is loved and respected by men and women alike. I mean, do you personally know a woman that holds a strong friendship with her husband’s ex-wife?

“I know a thing or two about the slings and arrows coming her way,” said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “Kamala can handle them all.” Kamala understands change requires substantial action every day that builds over time. She is aware the law is slow and outdated. But now she can change what she could not even address a few years ago. Kamala’s goal has always been to expand and improve systems that are already in place rather than demolishing them and starting from the beginning. I want Kamala, a powerful leader and role model, as our first woman President. But I guess Vice President will have to do for now.

Alena James

Chapman '21

Hi readers! I'm the Event Coordinator for Chapman University's HerCampus Chapter! I'm 19 and a senior Business major and French minor. My hobbies include: sipping boba, skateboarding, going to rock concerts, & (of course) writing! One of my major career goals is having my work in books and across several platforms. My ultimate dream for the future is creating and coordinating my own music festival brand! Happy reading XOXO.
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