Gina Montagna

Joe Biden and first female vice president-elect Kamala Harris win the election and usher out Trump administration, providing Democrats an opportunity for change

I come downstairs and turn on the news, discouraged and expecting to see no change in the poll numbers. As my eyes focus on the screen, I see the words “President-elect: Joe Biden.” I flipped through a variety of channels to confirm the news, and it was true. Joe Biden was going to be the next president. People were running, cheering and crying in the streets of New York, D.C., Philadelphia and Atlanta. Countries across the world celebrated alongside us by tolling church bells and lighting fireworks. Weeks of excitement and nerves have led to an ultimate sigh of relief as we near the end of the Trump era. 

This year, we have seen political and social unrest and significant increases in critiques of the U.S. government, particularly the Trump administration. Amidst a global pandemic, global death tolls have reached 1 million while the Trump administration sat idly by, discouraging social distancing and mask-wearing precautions. However, we can now hope for more productive and less oppressive government under President-elect Joe Biden. 

Eligible voters across the country voted in substantial numbers, the highest voter turnout in the history of the country. Biden received 76 million votes and Donald Trump trailed behind with 71 million votes. This record turnout shows how intent Americans were on making their voices heard and either maintaining or booting the current administration. However, these numbers go to show that the country is still extremely divided with Biden winning 50 percent of the popular vote and Trump winning 47 percent, according to the Associated Press. 

This deep divide in our country has grown over the course of Trump’s presidency, and these election polls allowed Americans to see how truly bisected our country is. Trump contributed to this split by continuously oppressing each and every minority in this country and praising white supremacy and racism. Trump had a chance to condemn white supremacy on a national stage at a presidential debate, yet initially refused, knowing his fan base relied on his support of radical right-wing groups whose goal is to intimidate and violate minorities’ rights. The president also called supporters of Black Lives Matter “thugs” and called the Charleston right-wing violent extremists “very fine people.” How is this American? How are Trump supporters continuing to defend a man who is condoning racism? The endless list of mistreatment of minorities goes on with his prohibiting of some members in the transgender community from participating in the military and his atrocious comments about women and their bodies. Many Trump supporters defend their votes by claiming they want lower taxes. This is no excuse. A vote for Trump was a vote for a racist man who has no morals. By voting for Trump, people disregarded the rights of fellow citizens whose lives are directly affected by the way he and his administration govern.

Members of the Trump staff, like Miles Taylor, former Chief of the Department of Homeland Security from 2016-2019, revealed Trump’s crazed rants and blatant misunderstanding of the government’s job and his extreme magnification of executive power. Trump’s government goes against all Republican values, particularly the belief in a smaller centralized government. Republican representatives were afraid to stand up to Trump for fear of losing their positions or getting attacked by the right-wing media. His own party and staff within the White House were constantly reversing his actions and protecting the American people from his outlandish policies. 

However, I recognize that Trump did indeed lower taxes and implement various policies that his supporters wanted to see enacted. To his supporters, Trump created a country that aligned with their political, social and religious beliefs and ultimately provided them with hope for the future. Similarly, from my perspective, presidency, alongside the first female POC vice president Kamala Harris, will create a government that represents all American citizens. Although half of our country might not agree with Biden’s policies and political views, Biden’s beliefs are moral and principled. We will no longer justify racist acts as a part of the Trump era and will rather punish them and acknowledge them as undoubtedly un-american. 

As a minority, both as a woman and as Mexican American, I feel hopeful for the upcoming four years with Biden and Harris leading our country. However, it will take years to repair our country’s deep racial dilemma and fix our relationships with our allies. Trump utmostly destroyed Americans’ reputation worldwide by becoming friends with dictators and continuously condoning racist actions, ultimately pushing our country back centuries. Despite this, Americans across the political spectrum need to work together and truly compromise to reach decisions in a civil and respectful manner that will reap benefits for both sides. I have hope that all Americans, no matter who they voted for, will slowly heal and come together to build a country where all Americans’ rights are respected. 

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