Small Distractions From Big Concerns About Kamala Harris
There’s been unified condemnation by Democratic presidential candidates to Donald Trump Jr.’s reposting (and subsequent deleting) of a tweet questioning Senator Kamala Harris’ ethnic “authenticity” as a black American. Since Harris is the child of a biracial couple (her father is Jamaican and her mother is Indian) someone posted that she’s not “American Black” and DJT, Jr. retweeted it. While the tweet is disgusting it’s also a distraction.
For those small minds who would focus on Harris’s ethnicity, they diverge from the more important path of examining her character and her ideas for how this nation should be governed. I’ve addressed her political agenda previously. This is about her character.
Harris is a political animal whose instincts for survival in that figurative jungle are sharp. In the 1980’s, as an aspiring lawyer cum political appointee, Harris had an affair with Willie Brown, San Francisco mayor elect and political kingpin in California. Brown was to San Francisco what Mayor Richard Daley was to Chicago. At the time of the affair, Harris was 29 and Brown was 60. Brown was also married and thought nothing of flaunting his affairs publicly.
As the Democratic speaker of the California State Assembly, Brown appointed Harris to two patronage jobs. The first, in 1994, to the Board of the California Medical Assistance Commission, long known for its patronage and kickbacks. The salary was $70,000 ($120,000 in today’s dollars). Most on the Board were retirees biding time while collecting salary. Harris was the youngest appointee (by three decades) and missed 20% of the meetings.
So, while admittedly conjecture, it begs the question, “What is a 29-year-old young woman doing with a politicly powerful, married, 60-year-old man but to advance her career? That Harris had no scruples about her actions, or compromised any that arose, tells me a lot about her character.
When subsequently questioned about alleged corruption charges against Brown, “the lady doeth protest too much” when she replied “I did not owe him a thing. If there is corruption it will be prosecuted.”
Well, we all know how you don’t owe anyone anything in politics (cough, cough) to the person who makes certain you get a job (patronage) the appointment of which was totally within their discretion and control (kickbacks).
However, Harris’ mantra, “If there is corruption it will be prosecuted” did not seem to apply to her refusal to cooperate with California victims of clergy sexual abuse when she was San Francisco’s District Attorney. Although Harris makes much of her “tough on crime” record, and particularly in prosecuting child sex crimes, taking on a politically powerful entity like the Catholic Church seemed to be a bridge too far.
Rick Simons, an attorney who was the court-appointed coordinator for clergy abuse cases filed in Northern California, is on record stating: “Of all the DAs in the Bay Area, she’s the only one who wouldn’t cooperate with us.” Harris and her office refused every request to release clergy personnel files of known abusers within the church, stating victim’s privacy as the reason. Yet, both the victims and their attorneys maintained this was an excuse because victims’ names could simply be redacted to protect their privacy. The more credible reason is that an aspiring political animal like Harris did not want to alienate the 25% of voters in the San Francisco area, and California generally, who are Catholic.
Once, again, there’s that political animal instinct to successfully navigate the jungle. To be fair, I am a woman who navigated a man’s profession. I am a lawyer and know too well the games people of both genders play in “going along to get along” within the profession as well as within the broader political arena.
But at what point did we stop caring about someone’s character.
I’ve always said Bill Clinton started us down the slippery slope to Donald Trump. Not that politicians who preceded them were innocent of character flaws. But Clinton’s total disregard for ethics and morals, and the public’s tacit acceptance of that disregard, brought us to where we are. Character has ceased to be a requirement, of any degree, in our public officials.
This lack of character is, literally, destroying the nation. So, while I do not care one whit about the color of Kamala Harris’s skin, I care deeply about the character which inhabits that exterior.
There is a mantra much more applicable, and powerful, than the one Senator Harris has used. The mantra that we should all be focused upon as we evaluate these candidates is: It’s not the color of their skin but the content of their character by which they must be evaluated and for which they must be accountable.