FAIR COMMENT | Alito L. Malinao
We do not want anything to happen to President-elect Joe Biden, the 46th U.S. President, but there are some valid issues about his health and his age. Biden would be 78 when he assumes the most difficult job in the world on January 20, 2021, the oldest president in U.S. history. And he has a string of medical concerns including undergoing two brain surgeries due to aneurysm. After winning the election, however, Biden has been seen as energetic and bubbly.
But if anything happens to Biden, America will have its first woman president and also the first Asian-American to become the leader of the free world. Harris, now 56, is in fact the first female black vice president and the first Asian-American to hold that post.
Even if Biden can finish his four-year term, he will be 82 in 2024. At this age, it would be unthinkable for him to run for reelection. Thus, it is logical that Harris will be the candidate for president of the Democratic Party. And she could win.
Who is Kamala Harris?
Kamala Devi Harris was born on October 20, 1964, in Oakland, California. Reared in a predominantly African American neighborhood of Berkeley, she was brought to civil rights demonstrations as a toddler and sang in a Baptist choir.
Harris’ mother, Shyamala, emigrated from India to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where she met Harris’ Jamaican-born father, Donald. Shyamala carved out a career as a renowned breast-cancer researcher, while Donald became a Stanford University economics professor. Her mother also ensured that Harris and her younger sister, Maya, maintained ties to their Indian heritage by raising them with Hindu beliefs and taking them to her home country every couple of years.
Harris’ parents divorced when she was seven years old, and at age 12 she moved with her mother and sister to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She learned to speak some French during her time in Quebec and demonstrated her rising political instincts by organizing a protest against a building owner who wouldn’t allow neighborhood kids to play on the lawn.
After attending Howard University and the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, Kamala Harris embarked on a rise through the California legal system, emerging as state attorney general in 2010.
Following the November 2016 elections, Harris became just the second African-American woman and the first South Asian American to win a seat in the U.S. Senate. She declared her candidacy for the 2020 U.S. presidential election but dropped out of the race before the end of the year. In August 2020, Biden announced Harris as his vice presidential running mate and after a close race, Biden and Harris were elected on November 3.
Harris married lawyer Douglas Emhoff in 2014 in Santa Barbara, California. She is the stepmother of his two children, Ella and Cole. Before her marriage to Emhoff Kamala has had some high-profile relationships over the years, most notably with former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, a black American, and talk show host Montel Williams.
Harris’ relationship with Brown has been repeated fodder for critics who accuse her of gaining career benefit from the relationship.
If Harris becomes president, she will be an inspiration to Filipino-Americans who want to aspire for high federal posts.