The Bittersweet Reality of the Election

For the past couple of months, the United States has been embroiled in one of the country’s messiest presidential elections. It culminated with an attempted riot at the Capitol, my family members overseas basically laughing at the thought of American democracy, and Biden being elected president. 

While I’d like to feel satisfied that a fascist president has left the office, I can’t feel much joy knowing that Biden will be taking his place. Biden may be seen as the option in the right direction, but it’s hard to feel that way knowing he’s a centrist who most likely will not take (and has stated he wouldn’t) take progressive measures that are urgently needed. Marginalized communities, including BIPOC, working-class folks and LGBTQ+ members, are just some that will continue to be disregarded under the presidency if harsher stances aren’t taken on various issues.  As someone who belongs to each of these communities, I find it kind of harmful when folks expect me to celebrate this “win” knowing that it’s all very symbolic. 

For many, centrism feels appealing in a time where this a lot of division and bickering among the two major parties of the country. Centrism can provide a sense of calm, unity, and peace for many who believe it to be a viable solution to our issues. Yet centrism does not firmly grasp dire problems such as immigration reform, climate change, racial justice, the ongoing health crisis, and the rest of the issues looming over this country. With matters that are harshly affecting the lives of Americans today, centrism is not enough. 

Quite the opposite, Biden leaves much to be desired and a lot to be critiqued on. A couple of highlights (or lowlights, should I say) include the 1994 Crime Bill, which contributed to the mass incarceration of BIPOC communities, actively supporting and voting for the war on Iraq, which was responsible for millions of Iraqi deaths, and countless other issues. When faced with a president that doesn’t believe in universal healthcare in the middle of a pandemic and proudly recommended for cops to shoot protestors in the leg instead of the head, it feels like a joke to think that Biden would feel like a moment of relief for anyone that’s been paying attention to the outcry of Americans for the past couple of months and years. This feels like a step, but I’m not sure if it’s forward or simply in place. 

In order for Biden’s presidency to be a moment of celebration, his administration would need to prove to the American people that they are ready to listen to the organizers who granted Biden his victory. His administration would need to prove that it is dedicated to ensuring tangible justice and actual results. While there is female, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC representation in his administration, there needs to be a guarantee that a policy actually helps these communities. Representation does not pay the rent in the middle of a pandemic, folks! I would like to see a commitment to keep folks overseas in mind as well. We often forget that communities outside of the U.S cannot celebrate when these presidencies still harm their countries. 

So, for now, the only thing I can celebrate is the orange man leaving the White House. Hopefully, I will be able to celebrate more in the future.