Kamala Harris Doesn't Have To Explain Her Kickass Self To Your Dumb Asses
"Kamala is a cop!" is probably our least favorite criticism of Senator Harris. Harris was never even technically a cop. She didn't run around in a leather jacket, waving a gun, and shouting, "You're under arrest, sugar!" Harris was a criminal prosecutor. Sister had herself an office and everything. You'd think after an (ALLEGED) criminal president, a president with a track record of actually enforcing the law would be a welcome change.
But no, America is stupid
right now, so Harris had to literally explain this weekend why a former district attorney is a good fit to "faithfully execute" the nation's laws as president. She laid down the law during a speech to the South Carolina NAACP, and this is how the press chose to cover her speech.
Who else?The New York Times
Yep, CNN, tooCNN
Wait -- is Harris on trial here? Why is she "defending her record"? Did she lose all her cases like the prosecutor who faced off against Perry Mason each week? That guy needed to explain himself. Harris put assholes in prison. She imprisoned assholes so well she was the first woman elected district attorney of San Francisco and the first black woman to become attorney general of California. She's the Serena Williams of law and order. Beto O'Rourke needs to defend losing somehow to Ted Cruz. Joe Biden needs to defend not realizing women were people until late last week. But Kamala doesn't need to defend herself.
What she did was set the record straight. She quoted her mother, who advised her that you don't let other people "define who we are and what we believe."
HARRIS: Why is it that we should only be on the outside of the system? Isn't there a role for us to play being on the inside, where the decisions are made?
Yeah, dummies, representation matters. We were happy when Wesley Bell defeated St. Louis prosecutor Robert McCullough, who gave Darren Wilson his Cartier "Get Out Of Jail Free" card. We applauded Marilyn Mosby's efforts, even if ultimately unsuccessful, to hold someone accountable for Freddie Gray's death. If black lives are going to matter, we need prosecutors who are on our side. That was and still is Harris.
HARRIS: I made the state law enforcement agency under my supervision wear body cameras to increase accountability to the community. I launched investigations into acts of discrimination by law enforcement agencies. All because the people deserved justice.
This might surprise some people but not all black folks are criminals. Some of us just know criminals. We're also occasionally the victims of criminals, and it's nice to have an advocate who wants to see justice done on our behalf, rather than throwing our cases on what Richard Pryor called the "(negro) pile." Mothers used to come to Harris's office and tell the receptionist, "I want to talk to Kamala." They knew she was the sister who got shit done.
HARRIS: I believe safety is a civil right, a civil right to which all people are entitled regardless of where they live. And let's talk about a myth: A myth that black people don't want public safety. That is simply not true. Every community wants to be safe.
It's insulting to claim that black people can only have an adversarial relationship with the criminal justice system or that a black woman can't prosecute crimes without betraying her community.
The Washington Post
This headline pushes the narrative that Harris isn't just a cop but she's also a flake. Who wants a flaky cop? That never ends well. But how was Harris "light on details"? Apparently, she "dodged some of the more controversial parts of her record." As district attorney, she threatened criminal prosecution of parents who couldn't keep their kids in school. While, we know others vociferously disagree, we don't think vigorously pursuing child neglect makes her a monster.
HARRIS: I refused to stand by while the system failed them. So I held the system accountable and got those kids back in school — not by sending people to jail, but by getting families the resources they needed. Those children deserved justice.
We suppose we have to remind people that prosecutors aren't defense attorneys. Harris's "client" was the state of California, and she was ethically bound to zealously defend California's laws in court. She couldn't wave a magical fairy wand and change the law. That's why she ran for the Senate. Those are different jobs and she's not a hypocrite for openly expressing more liberal views as a senator and a presidential candidate now than when she was district attorney or attorney general.
Harris has said that a prosecutor is needed to take on Donald Trump, and she artfully demonstrated that in Iowa this weekend.
So enough with "Kamala is a cop!" Even if it were true, we wouldn't mind seeing her tell Trump he's "under arrest, sugar!"
Full speech below:
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.