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As per tradition, Jan. 20 has, once again, marked the day on which there is a chance for renewal of American democracy and political administration.

With President Trump leaving office and newly-inaugurated President Biden entering, America is poised to begin its efforts of ushering in some very necessary change. 

In fact, Amanda Gorman, who has made history as the youngest inaugural poet in recent years, best described the climate of this situation with such grace in her work entitled “The Hill We Climb.”

It reads, in part: 

We've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed,

It can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith, we trust.

For while we have our eyes on the future,

history has its eyes on us.

Over the past few years and especially in the last couple of weeks, Americans witnessed acts of violence that have not only threatened democracy, but also divided our country almost seemingly beyond repair.

Poet Gorman acknowledges this despair but, ultimately, uses her gift of writing to call for unity and hope. This turn towards peace for which she calls, a necessity in America, shows signs of promise under the Biden-Harris administration. 

But that is not to say there aren’t cracks to fill and work to be done—seemingly more so now than ever before. 

As a nation, America still faces a plethora of issues—whether that be of racial justice, pandemic, climate change, individual rights, etc.—that could jeopardize this call for unity. 

Regardless, this new example of leadership in office provides hope to public officials and citizens alike, as we all work towards a better tomorrow for America. 

With hard work and perhaps a little bit of luck, the large divisions of political opinion that currently plague this country will begin to close their gaps. It is only unity that allows the plans and actions affecting imperative issues—ones that define what it means to be an American citizen—to be carried out. 

During various past presidencies—not just the last four years alone—we have seen the repercussions of societies in which disunity has torn people apart. We need to be better than this, for our futures and our children’s futures. 

This is a new chapter for America, and now the real work begins. 

Catherine Lippert, who goes by Cat, is a junior at Duquesne University. Originally from Buffalo, she is in a five-year Physician Assistant program and set to graduate in 2023. Cat is a longtime fan of One Direction and Harry Styles, loves to hike, and takes great pleaure in going to concerts to see her favorite musicians! In spring of 2020, she had the fantastic opportunity to study abroad in Rome, Italy, which taught her a lot about herself and the different cultures around her. After she graduates, she plans to move somewhere warmer than Buffalo and start working in a hospital emergency room, as well as use her free time to travel and to advocate for reforms concerning climate change. Oh, and she plans to get a cat or two from her local rescue!
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