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Last Updated on August 5, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 578

In The Truths We Hold, Kamala Harris demonstrates her political positions by using personal stories from her life as framing devices; she shows how she herself has been affected by and lived by her principles to better humanize her political platform.

One example of Harris's history acting as a...

(The entire section contains 578 words.)

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In The Truths We Hold, Kamala Harris demonstrates her political positions by using personal stories from her life as framing devices; she shows how she herself has been affected by and lived by her principles to better humanize her political platform.

One example of Harris's history acting as a framing device is when she talks about her mother encouraging her and her siblings: "hands were never idle, especially in front of the television." She explains that she learned how to make a perfect crochet shell stitch there; she says that her mother used her hands to clean, cook, and comfort because she valued hard work. Harris goes on to say that her mother passed that attitude down to her daughters.

She goes on to explain that Martin Luther King, Jr. was helping black sanitation workers fight for their rights to fair pay and safe working conditions in Memphis in 1968. She says that they got little more than minimum wage:

They didn't get overtime pay. They had no sick leave. If they were injured at work and needed time to mend—as often happened—they were likely to be fired.

This story is a secondary frame on her idea that hard work deserves a reward. It's adding support to her assertion hard work isn't always valued—but should be.

This might seem at first like a story to illustrate Harris's upbringing or to explain the motivations between the author's own lifetime of hard work; it might seem like a callback to American history that supports her own history. However, she goes on to explain that there is "dignity in the work that society requires to function" and that her mother believed every person deserved respect for their work and should be rewarded and honored for effort. This is the basis of some of Harris's political positions. For example, it illustrates her drive to create a $15 per hour minimum wage in America, which is legislation she's pursuing. It also acts as a frame for her support of the Equal Rights Amendment which is partially concerned with making sure equal pay laws are upheld.

It's clear that this is the case when the next section says:

It is the story of Americans trapped in a cost-of-living crisis, where everything from housing and health care to child care and education is way more expensive than it used to be while wages remain as low as they’ve been for decades. The letters I receive consistently tell the story of the hollowing out of the middle class, and of an economic life defined by intense struggle.

Harris is trying to show that her beliefs can help the average American citizen. She's using her personal history to support those beliefs and show why she's the right person to help fight for those beliefs in Washington. It would be easy enough for her to explain the letters she gets from constituents and her platform. However, by relating stories from her upbringing to the struggle of modern Americans and connecting that to her policies, she's able to better humanize herself.

Harris could have simply written a book exposing her political views. However, including personal stories better humanizes her to her readers. Since voters may be more likely to elect someone they see as likable or relatable, this was Harris's way of using her personal history as a way to frame herself as such to the voters while connecting her personal history to the views she espouses.

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