In his April 29 address, marking 100 days serving in office, President Joe Biden reflected on what he has achieved so far and his goals for the future.
Biden’s entrance into office came at an extremely important transition time after the previous administration’s grave mishandling of COVID-19.
Just two months into office, Biden signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, and before his 100 day mark, the administration had also reached 200 million COVID-19 administered vaccines, coinciding with vaccine eligibility for all Americans.
Unemployment rates have fallen after hitting all-time highs during the pandemic, and schools are starting to reopen their doors for in-person learning.
While the Biden administration has made great progress in the recovery of the U.S. in the wake of COVID-19, flattening the curve of reported cases, there still is much to be done as we begin to enter a post-pandemic world.
In his address, Biden made multiple claims about the types of issues he plans to tackle during his presidency.
He spoke about the importance of inclusivity for LGBTQ+ Americans in the wake of proposed state legislation that targets transgender individuals.
“To all transgender Americans watching at home, especially the young people, you’re so brave,” he said during the speech. “I want you to know your president has your back.”
Biden’s explicit acknowledgement of transgender individuals was the first of any U.S. president, marking a historic benchmark for the community.
He also brought up issues regarding systematic racism, domestic violence and the need for gun control.
While it’s obviously important that we have a president who will acknowledge these issues as the diseases they are to this country, just talking about them isn’t enough.
Action needs to be taken, and it needs to be taken now. The Biden administration has to immediately begin working with the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as state and local governments, in order to ensure there aren’t laws being proposed that further restrict marginalized groups, but rather push laws that help enact social change and push back against the systematic inequalities present.
We have seen intensified national polarization over the past several years and it is likely impossible for Biden to bridge that gap immediately.
The fact that terms such as “alt-right” and “the radical left” are freely tossed around by people to describe others with opposing political views reiterates how divided we are as a country—people feel the need to label others as outlandish and extreme when, most Americans usually fall somewhere in the middle on the political spectrum.
Less than 10 years ago, Mitt Romney was the face of the Republican party. But, when he recently was the only Senate Republican to vote for Donald Trump’s impeachment, and voice against the Capitol riots, he was immediately depicted as a “leftist” or “too liberal” by his Republican peers and American voters.
The political pendulum should not be swinging that fast toward divisiveness, as we will never come about real change if we can’t achieve bipartisanship.
If Biden wants to accomplish the things he says he will, it needs to start from the ground up first.
We saw, throughout the pandemic, local governments communicate to their residents how to overcome phases of high COVID-19 cases. We simultaneously, however, saw governments who pretended like the virus did not exist.
The same issues are at play now with removing the issues that plague our country. If local governments make it a precedent to care about creating change and reducing systematic disadvantages for those who are historically marginalized, then its citizens may be incentivized to care as well. If systematic inequalities are presented as a non-issue, then citizens will not have a reason to care themselves.
Citizens have to be encouraged and motivated to care about these issues for the change to even begin, and it’s on Biden to use his power of authority to work with government representatives that can help streamline the process.
Good soundbytes during a speech is one thing, actually creating change is another. With Biden now fully transitioned to office, it is time to expect more from his administration.