The election’s over. Now what?

Grace Edwards

“Oceans rise, empires fall,” Jonathon Groff said as King George III, while President Donald Trump ‘prepares’ to leave the White House, and President-elect Joe Biden enters.

Former Vice President Joe Biden won after a tumultuous and chaotic 2020 presidential election. But what comes next for young people, Trump voters, and COVID-19? 

Biden is a reset button, a palette cleanser, because this country is in a desperate need of healing. “This is the time to heal in America,” Biden said. That begs another question, ‘What does healing look like during a pandemic?”

 “All will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression,” former President Thomas Jefferson said in his first inaugural address.

“Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things,” Jefferson added. Jefferson thanked his supporters, but reassured the “minority,” (the minority in this case refers to those who didn’t vote for him) that everyone has equal rights. 

While Jefferson may not have been referring to certain groups of people at the time as those who have equal rights, it is all the more relevant now. President-elect Biden’s victory speech reflects those tones– tones of healing. Healing on both sides of the aisle. Healing does not start with blaming the other party. It begins with taking responsibility, and taking productive measures. 

“But now, let’s give each other a chance,” Biden said. “It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, [and] listen to each other again. To make progress, we have to stop seeing our opponents as enemies. They are Americans.”

While the election is over, and young people have gotten out the vote for Biden in record breaking turnout, it’s important to keep the momentum. Stay active, join your local student activism programs or clubs, like Minority Scholars Program (MSP). Below is a list of a few that come to mind. 

To President-elect Biden, as much as we are auspicious and ecstatic about your win, please be aware that this generation is willingly putting their trust and livelihood in your hands, something we weren’t able to do with President Trump.

To students, with each of these clubs, the main goal is to hold our politicians accountable, and change the system that encourages high poverty rates in communities that look like the Watkins Mill community. It is being active in the fight towards progress and change, something President-elect Biden is already doing,  beginning with his COVID-19 Advisory Board that is made up of scientists. 

“We’re going to get states, cities, and tribes, the tests and the supplies that they’ll need.  We’re going to protect vulnerable populations most at risk in this virus: older Americans and those with pre-existing conditions,” Biden said as he presented his COVD-19 Advisory Board. “We’re going to address the health and economic disparities that [result from] this virus hitting the Black, Latino, Asian-American, Pacific Islanders, Native-American, harder than white communities. [These communities] are not an afterthought.” 

Biden has already spoken on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, planning to protect and build on the act, in addition to speaking about universal pre-k to encourage equity in education. 

Though President Trump will soon leave the office in January of 2021, it is important to understand that “Trumpism” is nothing new and it will not leave without a fight. It may even continue long after he leaves office. It was something evil and truly unamerican lurking in the shadows during the election of 2008. It reared its ugly head whenever then Presidential candidate Barack Obama was accused of being a Muslim or an Arab, Kenyan born, and unreliable because he was black.

America has to do better. We have to do better. And it starts with us. 

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