From one of America’s most inspiring political leaders, a book about the core truths that unite us, and the long struggle to discern what those truths are and how best to act upon them, in her own life and across the life of our country.
Senator Kamala Harris’s commitment to speaking truth is informed by her upbringing. The daughter of immigrants, she was raised in an Oakland, California community that cared deeply about social justice; her parents–an esteemed economist from Jamaica and an admired cancer researcher from India–met as activists in the civil rights movement when they were graduate students at Berkeley. Growing up, Harris herself never hid her passion for justice, and when she became a prosecutor out of law school, a deputy district attorney, she quickly established herself as one of the most innovative change agents in American law enforcement. She progressed rapidly to become the elected District Attorney for San Francisco, and then the chief law enforcement officer of the state of California as a whole. Known for bringing a voice to the voiceless, she took on the big banks during the foreclosure crisis, winning a historic settlement for California’s working families. Her hallmarks were applying a holistic, data-driven approach to many of California’s thorniest issues, always eschewing stale “tough on crime” rhetoric as presenting a series of false choices. Neither “tough” nor “soft” but smart on crime became her mantra. Being smart means learning the truths that can make us better as a community, and supporting those truths with all our might. That has been the pole star that guided Harris to a transformational career as the top law enforcement official in California, and it is guiding her now as a transformational United States Senator, grappling with an array of complex issues that affect her state, our country, and the world, from health care and the new economy to immigration, national security, the opioid crisis, and accelerating inequality.
By reckoning with the big challenges we face together, drawing on the hard-won wisdom and insight from her own career and the work of those who have most inspired her, Kamala Harris offers in The Truths We Hold a master class in problem-solving, in crisis management, and leadership in challenging times. Through the arc of her own life, on into the great work of our day, she communicates a vision of shared struggle, shared purpose, and shared values. In a book rich in many home truths, not least is that a relatively small number of people work very hard to convince a great many of us that we have less in common than we actually do, but it falls to us to look past them and get on with the good work of living our common truth. When we do, our shared effort will continue to sustain us and this great nation, now and in the years to come.
Right now, Kamala Harris is probably at the top of my 2020 picks for president. That could all change of course, but out of the candidates that are likely to run she is leading the pack for me at least. Her book sort of shows why.
To be fair, I’m going to be trying to read something or analyzing something 2020 oriented every month or now before the election. I feel its important. There were a lot of misconceptions made by irresponsible media outlets about a certain overly competent candidate in 2016 and her stupid emails and look what we got stuck with…Putin’s puppet (God, how I wanted HRC so fucking bad to be POTUS).
So I’m sure while idiots like Mika and Joe (yes, I had to call those two ignoramuses out for still bashing that very competent candidate this very morning-seriously, those two always get me raging within ten minutes of being awake) I thought for like the two or so people reading this review I’d at least try to inform you of the literature that’s out there involving the candidates.
Note, there will be personal biases in these reviews. Such as the fact that I find Donald Trump to be a total racist asshole (though, is that an opinion that’s sort of fact see asshole’s reaction to Charlottesville). Anything Pro-Trump is not going to be tolerated. Also, Bernie Sanders is NOT a democrat unless it suits his purposes-i.e. getting funds for another failed campaign. Don’t believe me, see that little “I” next to his name that says it all… Also he’s full of bull shit which oddly enough fits considering his initials.
Yes, I’m juvenile.
And if you’re going to whine…we’ll this is my space find some other review to express your disgusting MAGA love and Bernie Bro-ness (seriously, those supporters are the ultimate internet troll).
Anyway, back to Kamala. Even though she’s only been a senator for a couple of years, in some ways she’s one of the more qualified candidates that the democratic party has. She has experience in local, state, and federal government. And I think it’s really important for anyone who is trying to be president to know how these three different factions of government work.
She is also very personable. The structure of this book tries to integrate Harris’s personal life with her policies and for the most part it works. The anecdotes will make the Mika and Joe’s of the world happy , while the more policy wonks (i.e. people who actually make a SMART choice when they vote) will be happy to know that Harris knows her stuff and you can see that she is very passionate about certain issues. I will say though, at the beginning of the book when Harris is going over her childhood there were parts of these personal anecdotes that felt a bit wooden.
Again, this was only for the first few chapters though. The only other problem I had with this book was it was clearly an I’m running for president book. And okay, yeah she is. And yeah, candidates do in fact often write books before campaigns, but it does sort of effect the overall quality to the book.
It still though did what it set out to do, it really did a nice job introducing Harris. You can see how her career choice as a prosecutor influenced her policies regarding criminal justice reform. I especially like the fact that some of her solutions aren’t something that you would find in a typical politician stump speech. Like, bail reform. It’s an important thing, but unless you’re familiar with the bail system (which most Americans aren’t) you’re not going to really know how much an effect that these reforms would make. Harris is pretty clear in laying out her case for it.
In addition, to her career influencing her choices in policy. You can see how important Kamala’s mother was to her and what an impact she had on her life. There really was a strong mother–daughter relationship there that I think has impacted her life and it really shows.
At the end of the day, a book is a book. I thought the memoir once it got past the Harris’s childhood years was quite compelling. I managed to get through it in about two hours after being exhausted after a long day at work. Between the book and the town hall that Harris did at CNN last night, she is definitely a top contender for me.
I’m sure as the race continues to evolve I’ll have more books and or town halls to read and review. However, if you are interested in voting for Kamala I do suggest checking out her book. If anything, it will give you a good indicator of what her values and policies are.
Overall Rating: An A- rocky beginning but I think overall the book did what it was intended to do.