Review of Kamala Harris’s The Truths We Hold

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

~Thomas Jefferson~

I felt somewhat overwhelmed by the recent debate among Democratic presidential candidates. None had time to offer more than a few snippets of what they had to offer. I felt that Kamala Harris made the most sense to me and I wished I knew more about her.

I had occasion a few days later to visit the Woodward Library in LeRoy to pick up a book I had ordered. By chance I saw Kamala Harris’s book on a shelf of new releases and had not realized she had written a book.

I delved into the book with anticipation and was not the least bit disappointed. My first discovery was about her cosmopolitan roots. She had a Jamaican father and an Indian mother who met in graduate school at Berkeley, leaving her with a legacy of viewing our country in the context of our world brothers and sisters.

This book traces her work history and challenges from her start as a college summer intern in the Oakland District Attorney’s office through to her current position of United States senator. She was exposed to various aspects of U.S. government work along the way. Her first job after school was as an assistant district attorney. Mindful of the abuses of power, she was encouraged and supported by her friends and family to seek equal justice for all in her work. The same encouragement followed and supported her through her campaign seeking election as San Francisco D.A. She was one of the few D.A.’s in the country who were not white men. She focused on the inequalities of the criminal justice system and how it could be more equitable.

She carried her principles of equal justice to her job as attorney general of California, especially with an eye toward righting the pattern of unequal treatment of Black and Brown people. She has continued her efforts in the senate in areas such as gay rights, health care and immigration.

Throughout the book I was impressed with her intelligence, self assurance, compassion and determination. She has approached her challenges in a passionate and logical way rather than on pure impulse as we seen so often in the past two years at the executive level. I expect her to follow her principles if she is elected president.

In the final chapter she shares with the reader what she has learned about life so far as well as the principles she lives by in approaching her work and life challenges. I found this book a breath of fresh air. No one knows how the Democratic platform for 2020 will look in its final form. But it appears very likely that many of her ideas will find their place in the campaign toward the end of the election process. I am excited about the prospects.

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