President Biden assumed the presidency Jan. 20, arriving with a breath of relief for many, but others are urging people to continue to stay invested and alert of politics.
Some are so grateful to just get former president Donald Trump out of office, as they see this win as an end to Trumpism, and all the misogyny, racism and hate that it entails. There are posts on the internet exclaiming that racism has been defeated, and the world can go back to normal.
But for people of color the past isn’t some standard of normalcy to strive for. The world has always been racist and misogynistic. That doesn’t change just because one person who was incredibly vocal about his ideals has been removed from his platform.
Trump’s exit isn’t going to magically right our country and repair his damage overnight. America is at a fragile point. We are the most divided we’ve been since the Civil War. We are unable to have conversations with the other side. Trust in the government and press has plummeted. Our environment is at major risk. We’ve been compromised by domestic terrorist attacks both in mass school shooters and recently, at our nation’s capital. Russians interfered with our presidential elections. Student loans are a life sentence of debt. Families are still separated at the border. Our economy is struggling.
Democracy feels farther than ever—more like an ideal we are striving for than one that we truly grasp.
Sadly with our two-party system and how partisan our country is, voting for leaders is an incredibly limited experience. I wasn’t content with the idea of Joe Biden becoming president—but as a 21-year-old Black woman I don’t think I’ll ever happily cast a vote for an elderly white man to hold the most powerful position in our nation. But I was relieved that he secured the win over Trump, for many reasons, but most importantly because I knew that under Biden’s administration, much could be done.
Biden has an incredibly difficult task at hand in taking over the country in its current state, but with the House of Representatives and the Senate both a slightly Democrat majority, I am optimistic at the work that Biden will be able to accomplish.
I’m also grateful to have the first woman and the first Black person as Vice President, Kamala Harris. Both Biden and Harris don’t have entirely exemplary backgrounds. I do not agree with all of their history and policies. However, I do know that under their administration, white supremacy will be condemned, Black lives will matter, the environment will be accounted for and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The first month is when a president gets the most stuff done, and Biden is already actively making change in our country. It took Biden only hours after being sworn into office to sign 17 executive actions, reversing several of Trump’s policies. All of the actions were aimed at issues surrounding immigration and diversity, climate change and the environment, economic struggles and the coronavirus pandemic.
Though Biden is quite a bit older, I hope that he is able to understand the gravity and force behind the concerns of the younger generation. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing our generation, as many scientists have stated we only have around 10 years before we’ve done irreparable damage to our Earth. Student loans have become schemes to sign young peoples life wages away. The Internet is still unregulated and user’s information is not protected. It is important that the Biden administration hears the voices of the younger generations, and meets our concerns with compassion.
So though Biden’s victory is a win for democracy, it is not a time to stop fighting.
Though we are tired of holding people accountable, watching the media closely, sharing our own information—we must continue. This is not a time to let up, but instead to start taking strides towards a better future for America. Let us take this time when there is harmony between our presidential administration, the House of Representatives and the Senate to accomplish real change.
We must keep paying attention, pushing for better representation and demanding more from all of our public officials. The duty of all government officials, including the president, is to serve the people.
Now is the time for us to work towards a united nation and push towards improving everyone’s quality of life. A life where young people aren’t burdened by student loans, where the ice caps aren’t melting at alarming rates, where Black people aren’t killed by police at unequal rates, where science isn’t a debate, where the government exists to serve and benefit us.