Written By: Hannah Yale
After several stressful days of constantly checking the news, the 2020 Presidential Election results finally came in, and Democratic Candidate Joe Biden was declared the winner by the Associated Press. Tears were shed, hugs were given, and people all around the country sighed with relief. We finally did it. We finally voted Donald Trump out of office.
For most leftists in America, former Vice President Joe Biden was not their first choice. After all, is Joe Biden, another old white guy, really going to make the radical institutional changes that this country needs to protect human rights and promote social and economic equity? Probably not, but Joe Biden does believe in the fundamental principles of democracy and he is trying to learn from his past mistakes and lead the country to a brighter future. Biden has comprehensive plans to implement stricter social distancing mandates during the pandemic, create a public option healthcare system, increase taxes for the wealthy while providing tax relief to working-class families, and begin to transition the nation to sustainable energy usage. This is all much-needed progress for America, but it is not enough, and Biden’s election is not a signal that it is okay to sit back down and relax now.
Over the next two months, President Trump may try to implement policy through executive orders, challenge the election results in court, or even refuse to concede the presidency. The remainder of the Trump presidency is going to require extreme vigilance, and we all need to protect and advocate for ourselves and others who are endangered by Trumpism and xenophobia.
When Biden is sworn in on Inauguration Day, the fight will still not be over. Every day that the police continue to be funded as a militarized intuition, Black lives are at risk. Every day that “gay and trans panic” defenses continue to be legal in 39 states, LGBTQ+ lives are at risk. Every day that ICE continues to deport and detain hardworking and innocent people, immigrant lives are at risk. Many of us do not have the option of stepping out of politics because our fundamental human rights are in danger, and we need allies.
Biden’s win is not your ticket out of activism— in fact, it is a rallying cry. With a Democratic president, albeit a moderate one, leftist community activists have a chance of creating lasting policy changes in this country. I urge you to take this opportunity to step up your game. Do not limit yourself to social media activism. Do your own research! Watch documentaries, read books, read the actual news instead of getting your news from Twitter. Remember that all politicians need to be held accountable for their actions, and we can vote them out of office and influence their policy decisions while they hold office. Call your elected officials or meet with them in person if you can; local politicians such as city council members and state assembly members will almost always make time to meet with constituents. Donate to community funds or nonprofits, and get involved with your local grassroots activist communities. Find a local chapter of Black Lives Matter or Human Rights Campaign and ask what you can do to help. The possibilities are endless, and the power is in your hands.