By Lillian Nazarova
Art by Ellis Rougeou
“He’s fallen through,” said Alice Lee (9), who along with myself and many others supported Biden.
After Joe Biden historically won the 2020 presidential election with 81 million votes, many Americans rejoiced, thinking this would be the beginning of the change. Biden also won our Upper School elections by 79%. However Biden has now made many of his excited followers step back and call him out.
Most recently, minimum wage workers and those out of a job because of the pandemic have been desperate for the $1.9 trillion stimulus coronavirus relief package. Biden planned to distribute relief checks to everyone eligible at the beginning of his presidency, seeing how immediate action needed to be taken for everyone’s sake. After two months of going through committees, the American Rescue Plan was just approved by Congress March 12. However, many eligible are only receiving theirs now.
Biden and his cabinet can only do so much on their own. The real power and authority comes from Congress; and the Senate is currently mostly Republican, which means that many of their opinions oppose Biden’s.
The Biden Administration campaigned heavily in favor of Black lives. At a community event in Wisconsin, Biden said, "I’ll bring everyone to the table, including police chiefs, including civil rights activists, including the NAACP, including the African, the Latino community. We’re going to sit down there and we’re going to work it out."
Although the current Administration hasn't encouraged violence, they have not produced a visible change in response. While Biden has already begun the process of change by having the most diverse cabinet in history, there is more change that can be made in the form of public policy and lawmaking.
“I do think his silence is significant since he made multiple promises to try and help the Black communities…” Bianca Dishmon (9), who voted for Biden in the mock election.
Rian Tyler (9) offered another opinion, “I think he is trying to unite first.” Coming after a very vocal and polarizing administration, many people may be mistaking Biden’s silence for an absence of Trump’s constant interjections.
One of Biden’s most significant campaign points was his emphasis on immigration control. He planned to get rid of Trump’s previous immigration policies because they caused too much debt and separation. Not only are thousands of children still in prison-like border camps, but they continue to be separated from their families.
Georgia Carls (10) said, “He has failed to live up to his immigration promises… he deported people within his first 100 days of office when he said he wouldn’t.” Instead of fixing the “Trump-created humanitarian crisis,” he fell back on the policies that caused it. It is naive, though, to blame a president for being left with a corrupt system. Additionally, the 28,700 deportation figure came from ICE’s report which includes data from October 2020. Some were also deported if suspected of espionage or terrorism.
St. Mary’s had its traditional mock election in 2020, which showed the student body’s enthusiasm for Biden’s position in office and policies. “Biden is going to fix America,” I heard from my friends over and over. Clearly, there was a lot expected from this presidency, even from our own community of St. Mary’s.
As a group of teenagers, we for the last four years have adapted to previous President Trump’s personality. Since many of us were young when Barack Obama was in office and were not paying much attention to the government, we also adapted to the idea that the president is supposed to act the way Trump did. This is not always the case. It is not unusual for a president to take change slower and cautiously, as Biden appears to be doing.
In 2020, the United States went through a complete administration change. We started with a heavily right-leaning cabinet and Trump who made sure his thoughts were presented loud and clear. Now, an administration led by Biden has been left with a global pandemic, pressure to implement new policies, and the scrutiny of an entire country. Excuses shouldn’t be made for our new president, but understanding the situation he was left with is equally important.
Lee said, “He is running our country and he can make mistakes… [but] I do think it is important that we criticize him.”
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