Kamala Harris Declares
admin@qs3 | February 9, 2019
OAKLAND, Calif. — In scenes reminiscent of the 1832 Paris uprising, eloquently depicted in Victor Hugo’s classic, “Les Miserables,” more than 20,000 people lined up along the barricades outside City Hall here Jan. 27 afternoon to support another rebellion: that of candidate Kamala Harris, who formally launched her campaign to oust President Donald Trump.
“Foreign powers are infiltrating the White House like malware. America’s position in the world has never been weaker,” stated the Oakland-born senator, as supporters repeatedly chanted her name and waved placards. “We are at an inflection point in the history of our nation. Our American democracy is under attack like never before. America, we are better than this,” stated Harris, who is a Democrat.
The kickoff is believed to be the largest-ever rally for an Indian American candidate, who hit hard on Trump and what she characterized as his agenda of divisiveness.“People are trying to convince us that the villain in this American story is each other. That’s not America,” noted Harris. “As Americans, we have so much more in common than what separates us,” said the candidate, using portions of a speech she had delivered last year at Pratham’s annual gala in New York. (See India-West story here: https://bit.ly/2PetB7f)
Harris invoked her late Indian American mother, Shymala Gopalan, noting early in her remarks: “My parents raised me to believe that the fight for justice belongs to all of us.” Harris’s father, Stanford economist Donald Harris, and her mother were prominent in the civil rights movement of the late 1960s. Harris’s maternal grandfather, P.V. Gopalan, was a freedom fighter in India’s struggle for independence.
The candidate, who has named her campaign, “Kamala Harris for the people” — a riff on her career as a prosecutor — employed former President Barack Obama’s folksy style of oration. As her maternal aunt Mahalakshmi, dressed in a resplendent blue sari, looked on, Harris spoke about one of her signature issues: maintaining the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides relief from deportation to young undocumented adults. Trump nixed the program in one of his first major moves after taking office, but federal judges have allowed the program to continue for existing DACA recipients.
“Walking the halls of Congress, I’ve seen thousands of Dreamers who have been traveling to our nation’s capital, by bus, by car, believing that if the members of the Congress see them and hear their stories, that we’ll do the right thing,” she said. “They’re fighting to remain in the only country they have ever known.” Harris also called for immigration reform that offers a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented residents. She took aim at Trump, characterizing his signature issue, a U.S.-Mexico border wall, as “a medieval vanity project.” Harris also lambasted the administration for “locking children up in cages,” a reference to the administration’s policy last year of separating children from their parents when they arrived at the border. Trump announced late last year that he was ending the controversial policy.
Harris addressed several of the issues brought to focus by former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who battled Democrat Hillary Clinton to the end for the party’s nomination. Harris took on the issue of economic disparity, noting that many people are living paycheck to paycheck, and relying on fraudulent loans to make ends meet. Harris also noted that many Americans believe a comfortable retirement is a distant dream, and that young adults are concerned about their economic viability.
“I have predicted that people are disgusted with Trump and that she will be our next president.” Kapur said he raised funds for Harris’s Senate campaign and once told her directly: “Three million Indian Americans believe you are one of us.” (Courtesy: IndiaWest)