“Kamala Harris, an American Ambition”… and a riddle, on Arte

“Kamala Harris, an American Ambition”… and a riddle, on Arte

Kamala Harris when she was elected to the Senate in 2017. Kamala Harris during her election to the Senate in 2017. US SENATE PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIO/RENEE BOUCHARD/ARTE


Kamala Harris, the Vice President of the United States, says it greedily right at the beginning of the documentary dedicated to her by journalists Marjolaine Grappe and David Thomson: “I grew up feeling special. “Unique, as is his family history, mixing India on his mother’s side and Jamaica on his father’s side. As a law graduate, she continued to climb the ladder. “Wait your turn,” the Defiants told him. Not Kamala’s type.

The career of those who went down in American history in 2021 as the first woman – and first black – as Vice President is well known. The documentary has the merit of illustrating it with images and testimonies. Like Barack Obama, she transcends racial and class boundaries, argues one of the speakers. A lightness of society, a touch of aristocracy, inherited from his grandfather, a high-ranking official in the post-colonial Indian government. The conscious choice of an African American anchorage.

The tone is far from critical, though the documentary doesn’t hide the fact that Kamala Harris, a humble assistant prosecutor in Oakland, credits the speed of her rise to the 1994 affair with Willie Brown, a flamboyant figure in California Assembly. , 31 years older than him, who opens the doors to good society. At the age of 40, Kamala Harris managed to make herself the attorney for the city and then the state of California. She is a progressive advocate for law and order. She will never accept an independent investigation into police wrongdoing, but is a passionate Black Lives Matter defender.

Lack of commitment

Unfortunately, the examination of the Vice President’s record is less thorough. Of course it depends on the curse attached to the office of vice president ( being ” nothing ” but potentially ” everything “, as the first in the role put it: John Adams, from 1789 to 1797 ). But she, who has felt so comfortable in the Senate, is struggling to live in the function. Joe Biden entrusted him with the migrant file as Obama had entrusted him. She was wary of such an undermined subject. Result: His lack of commitment left the door open to fire from the right.

Joe Biden, who ate lunch with “Barack” every week, apparently socializes less with his Veep (Vice President). Legacy of the treason of the 2019 Democratic primary, when the candidate didn’t hesitate to hold him accountable for ambiguous positions – half a century old – on desegregating schools? The November 2022 midterms saw her on the back foot when her past as a defender of the law could have propelled her forward at a time of national concern over crime. Is Biden suspicious of her? Will he choose her as his running mate again when he competes again in 2024? So many questions that remain unanswered.

For two years, the vice president has been the subject of an inexplicable lack of love. His smile often appears a little forced, as if to soften his reputation as an authoritarian “boss”. Beyond the “story” the film sheds no light on the Kamala mystery.

Kamala Harris, an American ambition, by Marjolaine Grappe and David Thomson (Fri., 2022, 60 min.)