Kamala Harris’ election into office as the Vice President of the United States of America is a great win for not just democracy, but for the many women in the world who are aspiring to be politicians someday, and for the others who love listening to stories about empowering women.
Indians were especially moved by her victory, as she is of Indian origin. However, some people were quick to point out some of the bad endeavours that she was part of during her job as an attorney in Chicago and San Francisco.
While many of these stances have changed, she has also been contradictory on the rest of them.
There are a large number of people who believe that voting for Joe Biden and the Democrats was just choosing the lesser of the two evils – #neverbidennevertrump.
Hence, looking at Harris’ stances on issues may be one way of understanding if she is capable of change, or if she is just another politician we all should be wary of.
Truancy Laws of California
Truancy refers to the period when a child misses school without any valid reason. In California, this law was enacted in 2011 after Harris advocated for it tremendously. The law necessitated the arrest of parents if their kids did not go to school for more than 10% of the working days.
Harris noticed that many of the criminals were mostly high school dropouts, and hence she legislated for this law to ensure it would prevent criminals in the future.
However, this had a lot of negative impacts. Parents were fined around $2500 for the same. Hence, even the parents of kids who couldn’t go to school because they were chronically ill were arrested.
Although her intentions were good, it pushed a lot of families who genuinely had poverty and traumatic issues into difficult positions. There have been a lot of humane costs of this law, which she has not addressed yet.
She has also been accused of being conservative about sex work and mocking BLM activists for the slogan “build schools, not prisons.” Although she worked against child molesters, she refused to help some victims when the accused was the clergy of the Catholic church in 2004, who held an important political position. Other issues include her backtracking from “Medicare-For-All” and supporting Trump’s military action against Iraq.
Here are some of the stances she changed after 2018
In San Francisco, an immigration policy exists that necessitates the reportage of undocumented young immigrants to the immigration authorities without any process. This implementation has had several effects on the young people in the area as they live in fear of deportation.
In the 2020 election campaign, Harris took a stand to protect the rights of the immigrants. She has stood by immigration rights throughout her entire career.
However, critics argue that her support is unwarranted as long as she does not act upon eradicating a policy that already exists, as it has caused a lot of problems in the community.
Decriminalising Sex Work
In 2019, Harris was against “Proposition K” which was brought about by sex workers to end prostitution arrests in San Francisco. She also tried to shut down a page named Backpage, an online marketplace for sex workers, to end sex work.
However, in a conversation the Root in 2018, she said that she was in favour of sex work, which many argue is intentional for banking in votes.
Similarly, as an attorney, she has been part of around 1900 cannabis-related convictions. In 2010, she was strictly in support of the ban of pot in her areas. However, she has changed her stance ever since and many cannabis activists have supported her.
However, some of them are still not convinced, such as Steve Deangelo, a cannabis activist. In 2016, she did not support California’s effort to legalise cannabis.
But recently, she has done a lot of things to win back the trust of the activists – advocated for uninhibited research on cannabis, co-sponsored a bill in 2018 to protect drug offenders etc.
Hence, even though such problems might be resurfacing on the Internet, and the criticism remains that her progressive opinions may have arisen from a political incentive to win the campaign, it might also suggest that she is willing to change to become a better leader.
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