The Work We Did and the Work That Follows
By Robert E. Williams II (they/them)
On November 7th, 2020, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were projected to win the Presidential Election with 290 electoral votes in their favor. When the news broke through that Pennsylvania “turned blue” (thus granting Biden and Harris the win), America came to a halt and took to the streets to rejoice. Videos of New York City circulated online as folks cheered from their apartment windows and marched through the West Village and Prospect Park to celebrate. Philadelphia expressed their pride in their work thanks to the Black, Brown, and POC voters of the area leading the charge to secure Biden’s win. Twitter did its thing by erupting with euphoria by generating well deserved memes wishing President 45 a farewell.
Biden and Harris delivered their victory speeches to the nation that night, highlighting their historic win, with Harris becoming the first woman, first Black person, the first South Asian, and the first child of immigrants to take the office of Vice President of the United States and Biden receiving the most cast votes compared to any other presidential candidate in history (almost 75 million votes). The two addressed the nation, focusing on the communities who organized to ensure the removal of Biden and Harris’ predecessors from office. Credit was paid where credit was due, but with that comes the following: the people of the United States upholding the new President and Vice President elect to their campaign promises.
The presidential race was a small battle in the ongoing erasure of the damage ensued on the nation during the past four years under an openly oppressive administration. A President’s agenda is only as good as the Senate and House of Representatives’ cooperation to move certain items through the pipeline. As it stands, Mitch McConnell, recently reelected, remains the Senate Majority leader. The Senate run-off elections in Georgia, where Deomcratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff face their respective GOP competitors in their respective elections on Jan 5, will determine whether or not Mitch McConnell will lose the Senate Majority seat to Minority Leader Chuck Schummer. It is vital to spread awareness of this run-off, as without a cooperative House to Senate pipeline, the next four years could very well be a stale-mate for any agenda the Biden/Harris administration wishes to pass. Active participation in American politics goes beyond a presidential election cycle.
Though we are urged to participate in the process, it goes without saying that many critique the current political system at play. The last four years displayed in 4K quality that the current system was designed to preserve the marginalization of minority communities. With further critique, we can expand our scope and see that the former administration is not responsible for the creation of this system, but they are responsible for amplifying it. Systemic racism in the form of police brutality/murder and mass incarciration, the roll out of various anti-LGBTQ and transphobic laws, and detrimental immigration laws are among some of the grotesque tactics the former administration enacted upon the nation.
Do not be confused, these issues will not disappear now that America has a Democratic President again. Folks can list problematic actions both Biden and Harris did in the past. We will not forget, and we seek to hold them accountable. If we want to see change occur, we have to participate in the system and work with this administration. Biden may not have been folks’ first candidate, surely not their favorite, but collectively we voted for Biden and Harris as a first step to moving in the right direction once again. Actively sitting out these next four years and then collecting as a mob when little to no change occurs is hypocritical and unproductive. It is our duty as the people to govern ourselves, to see our newly elected officials properly represent us on Capitol Hill, and continue to fight with the same energy we did over the past four years to see November 7th happen. We must regroup, recharge, and regain our democracy.
Photo by: Tessie Tokash