5 Takeaways from Kamala Harris' New Book

Though many suspected Kamala Harris would announce her candidacy for president, many more had no idea who she was. I fell somewhere in between. I first noticed Kamala Harris when I watched some of the James Comey testimony back in June 2017. Her rapid, shrewd questions caught my attention, and as time progressed, I continued to enjoy watching her question people like Jeff Sessions and Brett Kavanaugh, among others.

However, I didn’t know much about Harris beyond her tenure in the Senate, which only began around when Trump took office. So, after she announced her candidacy for president a few weeks ago, I decided to read her new book The Truths We Hold: An American Journey to learn more about her. The race for the Democratic nomination has become busy, so as a newly eligible voter, I feel an obligation to do my research.

Overall, I thought Harris’ book was okay. I’ve read some of these campaign books before and, to be honest, they’re not really books. They’re essentially just lists of what the candidate stands for, why they’re qualified, and what some of their ideas are. Harris’ book was no exception. That said, I did learn a bit about her, even if the writing wasn’t particularly engaging. So, without supporting or bashing Harris’ candidacy, I thought I’d share some takeaways from it. 

1. You pronounce her name “comma-la”

In the introduction, Harris made sure to clear up all the confusion about how to pronounce her name. It’s pronounced “comma,” like the punctuation, and has a “la” at the end. In Sanskrit, it means “lotus flower.”

2. Her major area is criminal justice

Before becoming a Senator, Harris was Attorney General of California and District Attorney of San Francisco. Some people have criticized Harris’ criminal justice record since she announced her candidacy, and perhaps those claims are valid. However, Harris wrote about how much she cared about improving the nation’s criminal justice system, and she cited instances from her time in California to prove that she’s capable of making that change.

3. She has an interesting family

Harris’ mother grew up in India, while her father grew up in Jamaica, so — like me! — she’s biracial. Her parents met at UC Berkeley before they had Kamala and her little sister Maya. However, her parents divorced when she was younger, and her mother received custody of the two girls. In her own family now, Harris has no biological children. She married Doug Emhoff a few years ago in 2014, and has two stepchildren from him. They call her their “Momala,” instead of “stepmom.”

4. A highlight of her time in the Senate was watching Dreamers ascend the Capitol during talks of repealing DACA

Since she’s the daughter of two immigrants, it makes sense Harris is particularly frustrated with this immigration issue. In her book, she said she appreciated seeing the Dreamers come to the Capitol not only because they were expressing their freedom of speech, but also because it proved they believed in democracy—something she found encouraging.

5. She would be the first president without an Ivy League degree since Ronald Reagan

Harris went to Howard University, a historically black college, for her undergrad and then went back to California to receive her law degree from the University of California, Hastings. I’m not sure whether I endorse Harris yet, but I do think it would be nice to take a break from this stream of Ivy-educated presidents.

Who knows if she’d make a good president, but I’m definitely more interested in her after reading the book. We’ll see how she performs in the Democratic debates!

Image Courtesy of GIPHY