Though this is purely speculative, I firmly believe that if time travel were possible, and we decided to send a representative from the present to share news of the future with our founding fathers, they might not take the news seriously. I think the fact, alone, that slavery has since been outlawed would send Washington, Adams, and Jefferson into the 18th century equivalent of cardiac arrest.
Having said that, it still amazes me that society allowed for slavery, sexism, spousal abuse, racism, and countless other toxic practices that continued for hundreds of years. I can only imagine how the founding fathers would react to the fact that we have a myriad of different races, cultures, and gender identities represented in our current political system. In a country that previously abused and hanged individuals solely based on the color of their skin, we saw the first African-American president get elected to not one, but two terms in our time.
If America’s founding was based on any principle that has remained over the years, its that the future of our existence is dependent on our ability to adapt and make changes where they are needed, not just where we feel like making adjustments. I write to you as a cis-gendered, heterosexual white male, and with that comes privileges I never asked for, but nonetheless give me significant advantages over many others in this world. Yesterday, the groundwork was set for history to take a step, once more, in a positive direction.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced in a television interview that she will run for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential election. The former California Attorney General turned Junior Senator made her plans public on Martin Luther King Day, a holiday that many associates with federal offices being closed, but others know as a day to reflect on a man who was assassinated for advocating for the civil rights of all living people. Harris is not, by typical measures, representative of what many Americans associate with a typical presidential candidate, namely because she isn’t an older white man. It does not matter what side of the aisle you think has the comfy seats, as a society, we are all to blame for the subjugation of people of color, and Harris’ announcement of her planned candidacy is a step in the right direction for fair and equal representation in politics.
But as much as it pains me to say this, no one should vote for Sen. Harris solely on the basis of her being a female person of color. Believe it or not, you are wasting your vote if you don’t do your homework and understand how candidates feel about different issues, and if elected, what they will do to correct these injustices.
“On the issue of climate change: Every parent wants to know that their child can drink clean water and breathe clean air. And that same parent wants to know that they’re able to bring home enough money with one job to pay their bills and pay their rent and put food on the table, instead of having to work two or three jobs. Every person wants to know that there will be a criminal justice system that is fair to all people, regardless of their race.”
–Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Perhaps Harris’ most attractive quality as a presidential candidate is that she believes no one American lives their life through the lens of one particular issue. We are a nation of people as complicated as our systemic injustices have catalyzed and then some. There is no catch-all opinion to slap on a platform and run for office, except that every person deserves to live freely and enjoy a healthy life. Harris said that “every person wants that a mother and father should not have to sit down with their teenage son and have the talk, and tell that child about how they will be stopped or arrested, or profiled and potentially shot because of their race.”
It’s morally repugnant and disgusting that people of color walk American in streets in fear of being persecuted, profiled, arrested, and unfortunately shot. As an informed citizen of this country, though I will be participating in the upcoming election, it matters more to me that a candidate does everything in her power to make every American feel protected under the law, not live in fear of those who enforce it.