Dear Kamala Harris — Tag, You’re It

I’m calling you out now — 4 years early — so you can get ready to move with intention toward the next step of your career. Or at least how I see your next step. Think of it as the ultimate Sheryl Sandberg lean in. In my eyes, you are the best hope to be the first female American president. You are the one who can take the baton from the so-close-and-yet-so-far attempts of Victoria Woodhull, Senator Margaret Chase Smith, Shirley Chisholm, and now Hillary Clinton. You can win this relay race, Kamala Harris.

Right about now, some people are asking "Kamala who?" They don’t know that for some time you’ve topped the list of political movers and shakers to watch. They don’t know you’ve just won the Senate seat vacated by the retiring Barbara Boxer of California. Or, for that matter, that you’ve already made history by becoming only the second African-American woman in the Senate. The last was Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, who lost her seat after one term. If what I envision comes true, your stint in the Senate would be even shorter. You’d leave the Senate before the end of your first term to hit the 2020 presidential campaign trail.

You’ve got to at least consider it. You and I know there is no gusher propelling women forward in that proverbial political pipeline everybody keeps talking about. It's more like a slow drip of the few who have just the right combination of governance and public service to be taken seriously. But you’ve got it. You already have more experience than President Elect Trump, who has never held a day in office. Your background — six years as California attorney general and, before that, as San Francisco district attorney — has given you wide public platforms to show your strength, poise, and integrity. You've been strong enough to remain steadfast in your opposition to the death penalty amid angry protests demanding capital punishment for gang members accused of killing a police officer. You've been poised enough to brush off comments about your beauty, even when the president of the United States calls you the "best-looking attorney general" in the country. And you've had enough integrity to stick to what you believe when it would have been much easier to modify your stance. What’s more, as the child of a South Asian mother and a black father of Jamaican descent, you are the face of a new America. Yep, you are the whole package and then some.

Senator-elect Kamala Harris, I know this is a lot of pressure. After all, you haven’t even been sworn in, haven’t even stepped inside the chamber for your first day of work. But those of us who long to see a woman shatter the highest, hardest glass ceiling can’t afford to put the search on hold. So please give it some thought. And know there’s a hammer ready and waiting.