Biden, a solution not an answer

Staff Editorial

After four days of painful anticipation, former Vice President Joe Biden has won the presidency, ousting an unapologetically profane and mean-spirited Donald Trump. But where do we go from here? 

The election of Biden marks a turning point and was a moment worthy of celebration. When the results were broadcast across TV screens in Burlington, the city almost immediately erupted in noise, a collective sigh of relief. 

Although understandable, and moving, the natural coming together that took place downtown was perhaps a much needed moment to exhale together, but the energy to improve this country can’t end there. 

As liberal college students, it’s so easy for us to look out our windows, look around us and see other progressive people exactly like us. It’s so easy for us to get lost in ourselves and our own ideas and the people around us.

But we can’t lose sight of the fact that this election was extremely close and much closer than any poll had expected.

The fact remains: over 70 million people voted for Donald Trump. We’ve got work to do. 

That’s a little less than half of the country voting for a president who told an alt-right terrorist group to “stand back and stand by.”

That’s 71 million people who don’t care about minorities. Almost half the country is completely willing to go head over heels to justify their vote with the mental gymnastics that it takes to cast a vote for Trump.

That’s 71 million people who were not celebrating, but seething. 

It’s no secret that this election was not the dream election. Neither candidates were really what people wanted as evident by the “Settle for Biden” movement. And, it’s not like another four years of Trump was really a great choice either. 

Politics aside, look objectively at the man and ask, did he really make America better? 

The worst thing we as a country can do right now is wiping our slate clean and say a job well done. 

“America is fixed! There’s nothing else for us to do. Joe Biden will save us. Thank god for the next four years.”

Biden’s campaign is a campaign of firsts, and that should be celebrated. No other candidate has received as many votes as he has. Further, Kamala Harris is making history in her own right as the first woman, and a woman of color at that, to be named Vice President-Elect. 

But we also have to remember that Biden will be the oldest sitting President of the United States in history. 

Biden is an old, white “traditional” Democrat. He has been a fixture in Washington D.C. for nearly 50 years and has a questionable record on commonly held liberal beliefs.

Case and point: the completely overt racial manipulation when he told Charlamagne tha God in an interview that if a black person doesn’t vote for him, then they “ain’t black.”

Although he’s seen a lot, part of his platform is being a unifier, that is needed to some extent, but we can’t let his centrist ideas and desire to reach across the aisle let true liberal issues with true liberal solutions fall by the wayside.

Almost half the country opted for four more years of Donald Trump. Republicans realize that this is their base now and will do anything to please them.

Systemic racism will continue to exist, the climate will continue to decline; simply put, Joe Biden will not fix America. But, we the people can. 

We’ve just voted in a President-Elect, that seems, on his face to be a man of the people. Biden promises to be different than Trump and we need to hold him accountable. We cannot afford to sit and wait, watch and see what this presidency does. The hard work of advocating what is right, lawful and human needs to begin now. 

Saturday’s palpable wave of energy that radiated throughout Burlington and much of the United States needs to be ridden further. It’s important to recharge and take a moment to breathe. 

But, if we the people let up on our demands for a more perfect union, we cannot expect things to magically get better. 

We need to continue to invest effort into the grassroots movements that have created tangible change. The Black Lives Matter protests, the climate rallies and the Migrant Justice movement.

It’s time to dig our heels in on the issues that we care about now that we have an executive arm to help us get them done. 

We need to praise Joe Biden when he does things right and we need to criticize Joe Biden when he does things wrong.

We need to pay as much attention to Joe Biden as we would to Donald Trump. We need to watch him with the same scrutiny we would with any politician.

We can celebrate the unprecedented turnout to beat a Republican incumbent President with a ticket that included a female person of color as Vice President, while also recognizing the bumpy road ahead.

The next four years will hopefully be marked with fewer headlines about inflammatory tweets. 

Now, let’s use our collective voice to project the change we wish to see, no matter who the president is.