So there she was on the radio a while back, on The Breakfast Club, and one of the hosts asked Senator Kamala Harris, candidate for president, if she smoked pot.
She giggled. And giggled. And giggled some more. All the giggling got under my skin. As did the phony accent she drifted in and out of during the interview to make herself more "black" for the listeners.
Yes, she smoked pot, she said. Coyly. And she made a point of saying she inhaled.
A long time ago.
She said pot brings people joy. And she remembered how it felt to get high.
She also jokingly referred to her roots. "Half my family's from Jamaica; are you kidding me?"
Her father, Donald Harris didn't like what she said.
Mr. Harris is a professor emeritus of economics at Stanford, where he began in 1972. And before that, he was a professor at the University of Illinois, Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin--and is known as an expert in applying post-Keynesian principles. He was born and raised in Jamaica. (He admits being descended from slave-owners.) And he has consulted with the Jamaican government as an economist during the terms of two prime ministers.
Kamala Harris' Jamaican economist father and Indian mother, a highly regarded medical scientist who passed away in 2009, met when both immigrated to the US in the early 1960s to get advanced degrees at the University of California, Berkeley. Kamala Harris has a sister, Maya, who is a political analyst at MSNBC and a former Hillary Clinton policy advisor, among other things.
“My dear departed grandmothers (whose extraordinary legacy I described in a recent essay on this website), as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics. Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty.”
Sounds like he didn't like his daughter's pandering very much. In fact, it sounds like he doesn't like her very much.
She was also asked by "Charlemagne tha God," one of the hosts on the program, who she listened to when she smoked the pot.
Later, someone did the math and pointed out that Tupac and Snoop Dog albums came out when Kamala was already a prosecutor in San Francisco. She became deputy district attorney in 1990. The albums came out later in the 1990s.
Her campaign says she misunderstood the question. You know, just like she was saying she misunderstood the question on debate night and mistakenly raised her hand in favor of taking away private health insurance. Which she'd already said she was for doing months before the debate.
It's all very dizzying!
And I thought, Holy Hell. And others figured it out, too. She apparently bought the pot she smoked--or someone she knew did (where else could you get it back then?) while she was putting a ton of young black men in prison for selling it. Maybe even for life under the Three Strikes law that started in 1994--and was in effect during much of her career as a prosecutor. It got squelched in 2012, a year into her tenure as attorney general.
I saw a pattern the other night when she suddenly stole the show by laying into Vice President Joe Biden for being anti-busing decades ago--while she was a little girl being bused to a really good school in town. It's a pattern of fudging and pandering. In an era of scripting phony messages and money-raising tactics that make fools of us all, she's quite the expert.
Kamala's dig at Biden turned into a picture of her as a little girl on a t-shirt the next morning, being sold by her campaign to those who also bought her performance at Biden's expense. She proved her lack of spontaneity and genuineness with that one.
Both black and white children were bused back then--riding in both directions in Berkeley. But Segregation in the schools was worse in Berkeley in 2010 than it was when Kamala Harris started riding the bus as a little girl 40 years before. And Biden was 100 percent correct when he pointed out no one ever liked court-ordered busing, not the parents or the kids, or anyone--and that it was an utter failure.
Her pattern has led to her insulting her father. And it led to her insulting Barack Obama's vice-president. And it led to the fact that she betrayed the people of San Francisco: they trusted she wouldn't be a criminal while prosecuting criminals.
And when I heard from a good source that she was out currying the moneyed money-raiser corporate donors for her current presidential run within days, or even hours after Hillary Clinton lost--and Harris herself won her first term in the senate--she insulted me.
Anyone out to replace the current president in this economy and on the heels of his administration's revolutionary criminal justice reform act, among other things, better dump the cheap shots, the phony self-righteousness (not to mention the accent) and the heavy duty insult behavior. And be real. Not to mention, stop calling ICE the Ku Klux Klan.
We've got plenty of that craziness coming out of the White House already. We don't need another round of the same thing.
Without good judgment, human kindness, clear forthrightness, complete honesty and emotional intelligence, Kamala Harris, we have no need for you.
Postscript: My cousin and I did a bit of friendly, cousinly and loving sparring on Facebook today over a sub-issue in this piece: whether or not busing has worked. I cite two articles in the hotlinks above that say no, it hasn't. One from May in the San Francisco Chronicle dealing with the Bay Area where Harris grew up; and the other published a day after the debate in the Washington Post that backs up Biden's contentions: that people didn't like it and that it was a failure. My cousin asked me to share this article from 2015--also in the Washington Post, that says forced busing has worked and is the key to desegregation. I turned a lot of these thoughts around in my head this afternoon, tumbling them to and fro. And one thing I didn't think of: Why in the world would someone like Kamala Harris, who had a mother from India, who was a renowned medical researcher with a doctorate, who went on to lead a medical program at McGill University in Canada; and a father from Jamaica, who was a renowned economics professor, also with a doctorate, who taught at four renowned universities--University of Wisconsin, Northwestern University, University of Illinois and who is today Professor emeritus at Stanford, need to be bused anywhere for educational enrichment? I don't believe that busing in the United States, whether in Delaware, Alabama or Berkeley, California was geared for children of families such as hers. Unless it was reverse busing? Or gifted program busing? Or enrichment for all students busing? She was not a disadvantaged child or an African American child. I hope that education, political and presidential election reporters can dig and find the nuance that led her to being bused to another school for desegregation purposes, and on what basis it happened. If anyone spots this sort of information, please put a comment on here and share it.
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