Op: Reflecting on Biden’s first days

There are several exact moments in history that our predecessors can recall by the exact places they were and the exact things they were doing at the time.
On 9/11, my eighth-grade English teacher was speeding down Lake Shore Drive, ready to meet a family friend at Lincoln Park Zoo. My aunt was in New York City, not at, but not far away from the Twin Towers in the borough of Manhattan.
As our generation comes of age, most of us starting to make our college decisions, we are starting to become more conscious of the history piecing together before our eyes. We may not be able to relate to our parents’ stories about 9/11, but we remember where we were when Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash last January, and when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away in September. We remember where we were when school shut down just over a year ago. And we remember where we were when President Joe Biden miraculously defeated Donald Trump after four days of counting on Nov. 7, 2020.
We lost a lot of people in 2020. But the election of President Biden filled us with a collective sense of relief and hope. I remember raking leaves on one of the last warm days of autumn, and letting the rake slip out of my hands in disbelief as I watched the headlines appear. Every headline stood out to me. Words like “historic” and “tumultuous” captured the essence of Biden’s victory perfectly, but one headline from the New York Times nailed it with three words: BIDEN BEATS TRUMP.
This headline was powerful because not only was it concise and straight to the point, but it also pitted one president against another, as is the case in every election. Rather than glorifying Biden’s victory, it displayed caution in how a new president such as Biden will execute his ambitious plans to change the nation for the better, especially in times like these.
Pandemic or not, the election of a new president is historic, and the process will be tumultuous, but we don’t know how the next four years will go.
As of this publication, President Biden will have spent a little over two months in the White House. I still wake up relieved that we have human decency in the White House, and someone who cares about the American people. The American Rescue Plan, which provides pandemic relief and stimulus checks to millions of Americans, was signed into law earlier this month, and we have reached 100 million Americans vaccinated as of March 19.
But Joe Biden ran his campaign on unity, and so far the only time we have seen that is in the vote to confirm Attorney General Merrick Garland. The American Rescue Plan, his missile launch on Syria, and his 37 executive orders did not show even a hint of bipartisanship. Most of his actions so far have republicans both in and out of congress calling Biden “dictator,” “communist,” and/or “incompetent.”
However, Biden’s struggle to maintain his platform may not be all his fault. While Democratic lawmakers were focusing on stimulus checks and relief for southern states after February snowstorms wreaked havoc across the country, right-wing media platforms and some members of the GOP were whining about Dr. Seuss and/or Mr. Potato Head. While I do think the cancel culture is ridiculous, the American people need to come first.
That paragraph was highly partisan. But my point is, for the Biden administration to be a success, and for us to escape the hole we dug ourselves into, we need to be bipartisan. That means working together. Regardless of our political identities, we can’t be focused on two separate issues at once during a time like this where every American needs help. Seeing at least one bipartisan agreement in Congress would fill me with hope for Joe Biden’s administration, because right now, the progress that is being made lacks vitality and purpose.
This election was the first time I’ve watched a debate with intent and glee, bashing my opposing candidate left and right through the television screen. This is the problem.
This extreme partisanship we see in D.C. cannot be ignored, but as high schoolers, our voices are not recognized enough in society. All we can do is be kind to our neighbors, regardless of what we think of the current situation. We must savor our memories, remember our history, and live in the present in order to build a promising and unified future.