Although a welcomed change from Trump, President Biden needs to be held accountable for promises his administration has made. Biden’s presidency is not an opening to lack of political activism, but instead, a sign for a need to continue.
By Brent Dondalski
Donald Trump’s four years of presidency resulted in some of the most appalling moments in modern American history. Whether it be the horrifying mishandling of COVID-19 that lead to over 500,000 deaths or telling white supremacists on live television to “stand back and stand by,” there rarely seemed a day that felt “normal.” However, Donald Trump did not invent our capitalist healthcare system nor white supremacy. He certainly exacerbated these problems, yet he was often acting as a symptom rather than a disease. Under the new Biden administration, we cannot revert to our country’s old “normal” when the country’s issues were more passively accepted because Trump wasn’t around to make them obvious. The Biden administration should be held to the highest of standards in crafting policy that fundamentally changes America’s deep-rooted flaws, and to demand anything less is to do ourselves and other Americans a disservice.
Looking at how he incited a coup and tried everything he could to overturn a perfectly legitimate election, another Trump term could have meant the end of American democracy as we knew it. The 2020 election felt like a car speeding towards the edge of cliff, and successfully voting Biden into office was what ultimately hit the brakes. But now it is time to get this vehicle on the right road. I am glad Biden is president instead of Trump. I am not glad Biden is president in general.
The Biden Administration and their Democrat colleagues have not given me much to really be glad about. They told me and my fellow Americans that we would be receiving a $2000 stimulus check “immediately” after inauguration. I have yet to receive mine.
On October 28th 2019, current Vice-President Kamala Harris tweeted she would “end all for-profit detention centers,” referring to the Homestead immigration facility where instances of child abuse and prison-like conditions were reported. Just a couple days ago the Miami Herald reported that the Biden administration is planning on reopening Homestead.
General Lloyd J. Austin III is on the board of directors for Raytheon, an extremely wealthy and powerful defense contracting corporation that has made billions of dollars selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, many of which were used to strike civilians in Yemen according to The New York Times. Joe Biden named Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III to be secretary of defense. As I wrote this very article it was reported the Joe Biden just launched an airstrike in Syria, which he did.
I could dig into Kamala Harris and Joe Biden’s past records for more objectionable policy choices, but to do so would be redundant at this point. Many of the issues I had with Donald Trump, in terms of policy, I also have with Biden and other moderate Democrats, albeit in a reduced capacity. But these issues don’t belong to Trump or to Biden; they belong to America. America’s history of economic disenfranchisement, xenophobia, and imperialism are structurally entrenched into our society and surgically uprooting them through strong redistributive policy is the only way we can truly solve these problems. Biden and the entire Democratic Party must be concerned with more than being a friendlier face than Trump and the Republicans, because as of now they are still upholding hegemonic power structures that harm people. Biden even said himself on the campaign trail that “no one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change” if he’s elected. I cannot imagine a more disheartening statement from a politician.
Biden would not be president if it weren’t for the hundreds of thousands of young progressive activists who turned out to vote for him despite his problematic record and moderate policy platform. Just take a look at the Path to Progress Instagram account, formally known as Settle for Biden, which amassed nearly 300,000 followers in its campaign to convince young progressive voters to do just as the name suggests. Biden’s disappointing start to the presidency is a slap in the face to all the voters who voted for him despite their reservations, which at this point appear somewhat justified.
However, this is also the historical trajectory of politicians and the people they govern. Rarely do politicians willingly hand the people what they need. The people have to demand it, whether it be through organizing, protesting, building a strong community, getting directly involved in politics, or all of the above. This is why I am calling on all Americans, especially those who voted for Biden, to demand more from him and his administration.
In the previous four years people have brought signs to protests that infamously read “if Hillary were president we’d be at brunch right now.” Similarly, I read a popular tweet the other day that read “I have no idea what Joe Biden did all weekend and it's f*****g glorious.”
I understand the relief of not having Trump’s volatile and destructive behavior in the White House anymore, but this attitude will only make our country’s issues worse. We cannot ignore Biden simply because he isn’t Trump or because he is a Democrat or because we voted for him. If you’re a person of privilege you may feel reassured by Biden’s civil presentation and his familiar presence, but to the single immigrant mother who lost her job in the pandemic Biden’s friendly face is inconsequential until she gets that stimulus check that is rightfully hers. From there, it needs to be an uphill battle towards ending poverty, providing health insurance, crafting humanitarian immigration policy that actually aims to help people, and so much more. Biden is president now, we don’t have to settle anymore.
Ryan Ford '23,