By Anne Walker | Staff Writer
The tumultuous final days of the Trump administration have filled the news cycle with troubling events. Still reeling from the shock that Trump supporters, including white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys, stormed the Capitol, Americans witnessed the House of Representatives impeach the then president for a historic second time.
The FBI reports detailing threats to governmental buildings across the country continue to capture the attention of the American public. President Biden’s vows to “restore decency” and “heal America” seem even more ambitious in light of the recent violence. The prospect of a partisan Senate trial to convict Trump only promises to further fan the flames of division.
However, amid our fractured political landscape and regardless of your political leanings, we should all be encouraged that a child of immigrants and a woman of color can achieve the second-highest position in our land.
On Wednesday, Kamala Harris started her term as the first Black and South Asian female vice president in America’s history. The California native and Howard graduate was born to Shyamala Harris, a cancer researcher from India, and Donald Harris, an economics professor from Jamaica. A daughter of immigrants, Harris’ inauguration demonstrates that America can still be a land of opportunity, no matter one’s background.
Wednesday was not the first time Harris broke gender and racial ceilings. After serving as San Francisco’s District Attorney, where she earned a tough-on-crime reputation, Harris became California’s first Black attorney general. In this role, Harris focused on issues such as human trafficking and school truancy. She then succeeded in filling Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat in the 2017 election.
During the 2020 primaries, Harris touted that she had never lost an election; however, her bid for the Democratic Presidential Nomination eventually marked her first major political defeat. Despite the initial enthusiasm for her campaign, she soon met opposition from both sides of the aisle.
Conservatives sought to paint her as a radical liberal, while members of her own party condemned her extensive prosecutorial record. Harris certainly took her share of blows during the primaries, but she now has an opportunity to stoke bipartisan progress and serve as a unifying force in American politics.
Even with contrasting opinions about her political background, Harris’ accomplishments should earn the respect of all Americans. America has long promised liberty and justice for all, but we rarely see such marked proof of the nation progressing toward this ideal.
After our reckoning with racial injustice this summer and the violence displayed at the Capitol two weeks ago, common ground and healing may seem elusive. Harris’ inauguration provides a glimmer of hope that this nation still maintains the potential to work toward “a more perfect union.”
Harris’ inauguration only constitutes the beginning of the Biden-Harris administration, and we must wait to see whether they will achieve their campaign promise to unify America. Our political divisions are indeed deep, but they should not overshadow the fact that our Vice President is a woman of color. I encourage you to appreciate the image of Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor swearing in Kamala Harris.