When people look back at the U.S. presidential election of 2020, there will be many reasons it stands out. There’s the record-breaking voter turnout. Key battleground states flipping to blue. The four days of anxious waiting for an official announcement. Joe Biden passing 270 electoral college votes, making him the next president of the United States with Kamala Harris as his vice president, the first woman and woman of color to hold the position.
There is indeed a lot to celebrate. But even with Trump out of the White House, we cannot let our guard down and start believing that every issue will miraculously be solved. Settling for Biden does not guarantee that his campaign promises will be fulfilled or that meaningful change will be made.
For one, the race for the Senate majority has yet to be determined. Even though it was overshadowed by this year’s presidential election, who we choose to represent us in Congress is no less important to getting legislation passed, like environmental regulations and COVID-19 stimulus packages.
Over the last four years, Trump has undone countless environmental protections, separated families with his unprecedented zero tolerance immigration policy, worked to sabotage millions of Americans’ access to healthcare by dismantling the Affordable Care Act and has disgraced the U.S.’s standing in the world. His deception about the coronavirus and incompetence as a leader has resulted in the deaths of over 230,000 Americans. His words and actions have condoned white supremacy and created a modern partisan divide in our country.
It will take time and work to undo the damage Trump has done to our country. Such a close election is evidence of just how deeply polarized we have become.
Once Biden takes office in January 2021, it’s up to us to keep the new administration accountable. Citizens must push them to follow through on all of their campaign promises to address climate change, the pandemic, healthcare, the economy, international relations, systemic racism and more. While it won’t be easy and there will be resistance, both in the government and from the people in our communities, it is absolutely necessary.
While it may feel like participating in large scale change is beyond us now that the election is over, there is still work to be done at the small scale. Pay attention to your local elections and the goings-on in your city and state because change can happen there too.
Keep yourself informed and keep asking questions. Keep learning and listening. Keep wearing your masks.
Celebrate this win. Take a break to rest and process everything that’s happened. But remember to come back and show up to continue the fight for a better future for all.
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