By Katherine Hunt
After four days of waiting, on Saturday, November 7th, the election was called in favour of former vice-president Joseph R. Biden, making him the 46th President of the United States of America.
The long-awaited conclusion to this election has sparked joy across the United States. Videos from places like Pennsylvania, Georgia, New York, and Washington D.C. have shown people flooding the streets, cheering and waving flags. Many people are relieved because of this historic win, excitement reflected across the country.
Even around the world, people are celebrating the new President-elect. According to the Washington Post, cheers erupted in large cities like Berlin, London, and even here in Toronto. Many world leaders have already come out to congratulate the new President-elect, including Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who said in a statement on Twitter: “Congratulations, @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris… I’m really looking forward to working together and building on that with you both.”
Though the country and the world should be allowed to celebrate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s historic win, we must also remember how close the race was. The past four years of the Trump administration has been a whirlwind of lies, contradictions, and controversies.
Under Trump, America has taken steps backwards in terms of LGBT+ right, for example. Almost immediately after entering office, Donald Trump rescinded a piece of guidance given to school boards under the Obama administration, that was meant to protect trans students. In 2017, President Trump attempted to ban trans individuals from serving in the military. He didn’t succeed, but effectively re-instated the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for transgender individuals.
The country has also seen a rise in racial tensions during President Trump’s tenure in the white house. Everything came to a head this spring after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Protests erupted across the nation, and instead of attempting to understand or share in people’s pain, the president launched verbal attacks on the protestors and Black Lives Matter. He even used physical force, deploying troops and police to violently disperse peaceful protestors so he could take a photo at the church across the street from the White House.
Most recently, under Trump’s presidency, America has seen the coronavirus run rampant through the country. At the beginning of the pandemic, the President dismissed the danger the virus presented; he claimed multiple times that it would just go away. Even after it was made apparent that the virus wasn’t just going to “go away”, the president refused to instruct people to wear masks, let alone wear one himself. As of the time this article was written, there have currently been 13.8 million cases of Coronavirus in the United States. There have been 271 thousand deaths as a result of the virus so far.
Listed above are only three “shining” moments of the Trump administration, but they help create an idea of what it has been like the past four years. Despite that, however, 74,093,337 people voted to re-elect Donald Trump and give him a second term as President of the United States. In fact, 11,108,509 more people voted for Donald Trump in 2020 than in 2016.
In my opinion, the results of this election solidify the fact that America and its people are still divided. It shows that the country’s institutional problems are clearer and more visible than ever. And it casts a light on just how much work needs to be done in order to change the rhetoric that has been spread the past four years, and the reverse harmful policies set by the Trump administration.
Joe Biden already had an uphill battle in the form of coronavirus, but now his presidency has gotten even harder. Now he must deal with this very large, very loud portion of the country that wanted the “other guy” to win more than anything. He has to work with an almost evenly split democrat-republican congress to try to undo the damage Trump did over the past four years. He has a lot of work to do… but at least the people got him in the office, making it possible to get it done.
So, America, you can take this next month to celebrate. You can dance in the streets and tweet about winning. You can make all “the horse has left the hospital” jokes you want. But don’t forget the stressors of election night. Don’t forget that Donald Trump almost won this election.
And, most importantly, don’t forget that on January 20th, it’s time to get to work.