All the women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century…
While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.
said Kamala Harris, the new vice president of the United States while having a speech after her election. As Joe Biden won the U.S presidential election of 2020 against Donald Trump, Kamala Harris who has been nominated by Biden before, simultaneously shared the glory of election with him. Since Harris is the very first vice president as an African American and woman, her win naturally drew public attention, indeed.
Background knowledge of her
Harris became the first black woman who became the chief prosecutor of San Francisco in 2004, and in 2011 she became the first female African American to become the Attorney General of California and worked until 2017. Harris has received much attention so far for her outspokenness and her stable political stance. Especially, when Harris entered Congress in 2016 with the status of a federal senator, she became an “Eloquent star” at once. While asking sharp questions about Federal Supreme Court Justice Nominee’s ideas on abortion to Brett Kavanaugh (the current Supreme Court justice in U.S) and William Barr (Attorney General) at Supreme Court hearings, she got famous. In an interview asking about that hearings, Donald Trump even answered, “Harry treated Kavanaugh very horribly.” Last year, while she had her first TV debate, she got the nickname “Woman Obama” not only because of her skin color but also her single-parent family backgrounds as his. Also, her outstanding debating skills and charisma resembled him as well.
Her previous political footprints
Donga Ilbo(동아일보) expected that while Biden has taken a political stand representing the mainstream of the Democratic Party, Harris is also expected to help him aside and keep up with it. She has been reborn as an icon of judicial reform, insisting on how to change the system in America based on her own experience as attorney general of the state. Having established a criminal justice database “OpenJustice” in 2015, Harris became the first minister who establish the righteous system for right of the public to know. As a pioneer in judicial reform like this, she has worked hard to protect the socially disadvantaged, including immigrants, women, and sexual minorities. Harris made a male stalker be sentenced to four years in prison for hacking into SNS of a woman and stealing personal photos. She also put her effort into promoting consumer rights, finding out financial institutions which put ordinary citizens’ houses under distraint illegally in the name of mortgage loans and drawing out privacy agreements with related companies.
The two prospects surrounding her election
Looking at her previous achievements and political footprints, political experts say she could do well with her position and will run the U.S society properly with President Biden after all. While mentioning her command, “Close the cabinet and stop the investigation, now!” in 2019, media called The Intrecept revealed that Harris suddenly suspended the investigation despite the calls for investigation from the victims when a child sexual assault scandal broke out by Catholic priests in San Francisco, others say she cannot be the one that everybody in America wishes for. According to a survey from Washington Post (WP) about 1,000 voters randomly elected from adult voters in America participated in, there are two positions on Harris’s election in American society and her prospects from now on.
Positive outlooks on Harris being the next Vice President
The New York Times (NYT) evaluates Harris’s election as “On one woman’s big night at the Democratic convention, many women celebrated.”. Speaker of the speech, Nancy Pelosi condemned that President Trump’s policies and “disrespect” for women during the Democratic National Convention and expressed her expectation toward Harris that she could be the one who cares women’s right. NYT also evaluates Harris as “the safest option for Biden”, because of her characteristic of being a pragmatic centrist. WP said, her election is a historical choice that could be made at the moment when the U.S have faced and tried to solve the racial issues going around from the past until now. The Associated Press added that Harris and Biden will write the new history with African American voters.
Furthermore, among many supporters toward Harris, Bria Goeller, who is a painter/designer from San Francisco posted a picture on her Instagram account. That was a composite picture of Ruby Bridges and Harris, two important figures who played major roles in the history of African American human rights in the States. Ruby was the very first African American girl who attended a white school and became a symbol of the civil rights movement of African American in U.S. This painting implies the hope from Americans that Harris, who has spoken out against racial and gender discrimination, taking over Ruby’s footsteps and showing such steps as the new vice president. Looking at her previous achievements, this can be said to be predictable in some ways.
Negative outlooks on Harris being the next Vice President
There is an objection, too. According to an earlier survey mentioned above by Washington Post, 29 percent of them answered that they did not support the selection of Harris at all. 69 percent of all respondents said Harris was not the reason they voted for the Democratic Party, while 11 percent of the respondents said they even made their decision to have less support for the Democratic candidate because of her running for office. This survey shows that Harris could not make a big difference in public choice of candidates compared to her initial favorability from the public.
Therefore, she is criticized as a political opportunist in fact. When Harris was an attorney general of California, she had acted inconsistently, trying to keep convicted people in jail even after they were found innocent and rejecting calls from several police officers to investigate the recent shooting of the colored. Plus, unlike her image as a supporter for the minorities, she defended California’s legislation banning same-sex marriage in the past that made the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community angry. However, later she declared her support toward same-sex marriage all of a sudden and made a keynote speech at the Human Right Campaign Columbus in Ohio State University on June 1 in 2019, expressing the conflicting view while mentioning the Equality Act and No-Discrimination Act.
The significance of her election
These are the two main prospects on how Harris turned over a new political page in the United States. Despite these divided opinions, it is true that her election as the new vice president in America is meaningful enough. As a non-white woman, she eventually became the vice president of America and she rewrite the political history in U.S indeed. In Hillary Clinton’s last speech, she said, “I know that we have not broken the highest and hardest glass ceiling yet, but one day someone will surely make it.” In any case, she is expected to help reuniting the ethnically and sexually divided American society soon or later. Like Harris said at her election news conference, she is expected to remember the efforts made by many black, Asian and Latino women for democracy and to strive for future democracy and political well-being in the United States from now on.