Just when she thought she was firmly at the top of the heap of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates with her cool confidence and hearty laugh, Senator Kamala Harris’s father is ready to take her to the woodshed. Remember that radio interview Kamala did on the New York City-based The Breakfast Club? Co-host Charlamagne Tha God (yes, really) asked her if she had ever smoked marijuana. She answered in the affirmative and explained it was a long time ago, during her college days. Then she added, “And I inhaled.” Clever.
“I have. And I inhaled — I did inhale. It was a long time ago. But, yes,” the California Democrat replies, invoking former President Bill Clinton’s famous “didn’t inhale” remark he made during his 1992 presidential run.
Harris, laughing as she realized the attention that her admission might draw, said that she tried pot in college and noted that it was in the form of a joint.
“I just broke news,” she said.
Yeah, ok, calm down, Kamala. While the little dig at Bill Clinton was some fast thinking, it isn’t 1992 anymore and no one is particularly surprised that a fifty-something-year-old political candidate admits to youthful dabbling in smoking pot. Points for honesty, maybe, but this admission hardly makes her an edgy trailblazer. I won’t be at all surprised if some of the other candidates now rush to make the same claim.
Well, Senator Harris’s father, emeritus professor of economics at Stanford University, is none too amused about his daughter’s answer — and isn’t shy about airing his opinion to the press. When Kamala was asked if she opposes the legalization of marijuana she said no, of course not. She then dragged half of her family into the mix by reminding the radio host that she’s of Jamaican heritage. “Half my family’s from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?” Mr. Harris is Kamala’s Jamaican parent.
Professor Donald Harris Kamala Harris’ Jamaican father, has vigorously dissociated himself from statements made on the New York Breakfast Club radio show earlier this week attributing her support for smoking marijuana to her Jamaican heritage. Professor Harris has issued a statement to jamaicaglobalonline.com in which he declares:
“My dear departed grandmothers (whose extraordinary legacy I described in a recent essay on this website), as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics. Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty.”
Ouch. Professor Harris doesn’t appreciate being lumped in with the stereotype. Not only does he not want to be thought of as a “pot-smoking joy seeker” but he claps back on Kamala’s use of identity politics. Good for Professor Harris.
Kamala Harris dodged the radio show host’s question of if she’d smoke pot today. She did say that smoking pot brings people joy and the world needs more joy. She strongly said she favors legalization but noted that more research needs to be done on the potential damage the drug does to younger people. Duh. Haven’t we been reading about research results noting brain damage from smoking the wacky weed, especially in teens and their still-developing brains? And, there’s the matter of all the young men of color who are incarcerated.
“But I am absolutely in favor of legalizing marijuana. We’ve got to do it,” she said later in the interview. “We have incarcerated so many, and particularly young men and young men of color, in a way that we have not for the same level of use (among) other young men.”
This support for legalization is a different opinion than Senator Harris had when she was running for re-election as California attorney general. In 2014, she was asked in a television interview if she held the same opinion as her opponent who supported marijuana legalization. She merely answered that he was entitled to his opinion. Funny what running for president will do. She’s all in now. You might even say she’s joyful about it.