With Biden’s victory, there is much to be hopeful about, but we mustn’t lessen our demands for accountability.


digital art by Julia Poppa

The next four years may not appear as difficult as they did a week ago, but there remain challenges ahead that even a Biden/Harris administration will not find easy.

Julia Poppa, Photography Editor

2020, the year that gave us seven months of March, recently debuted a horrific sequel called “Tuesday: Part 5”. Millions of Americans were forced to wait for five days for election results.  At long last, on Saturday, November 7th, the Associated Press, The New York Times, and even Fox News called the election, declaring that Donald Trump’s presidency would soon come to an end. 

I felt more joy hearing that news than I have felt in nearly four years, and I know that I’m not the only person sharing that sentiment. Perhaps it was the historic victory for President-Elect Joe Biden that brought tears to my eyes, or maybe it was the fact that Kamala Harris is not only the first woman to be elected Vice-President, but the first woman of color. Maybe it was the irony of Trump having to push through crowds cheering at his loss after leaving his private golf course when the election was called.

Which of these things brought me the most joy? Well, truly I don’t know, but seeing the swarms of people celebrating, dancing, and rejoicing my heart swell with pride. We’re out of the clear now, right?

Not exactly. As much as I believe in celebrating even the smallest victories — though admittedly this one is rather monumental — it is important to remember that our fight is not over. 

Compared to Trump, Biden is fairly progressive, but frankly, this doesn’t say much at all. In the grand scheme of political things, Biden is about as moderate as you can get. Unfortunately, regardless of why the times are changing, they are, and a moderate candidate isn’t what we are most in need of right now.

Of course this brings up the whole “lesser of two evils” trope, which I don’t feel the need to dive into, but what I think we do need to address is accountability.

The past four years have been devoid of accountability for the President’s actions — both prior to his presidency and during it — but this time, we must make sure things are different. The dawning of a new era does not simply come about with the prospect of a new president; a change in leadership will not be the fix-all that we’ve so desperately been craving. 

With the mounting presence of the Black Lives Matter movement, a steadily increasing awareness of trans rights, the disastrous border crisis, the rise in cases of missing and murdered indigenous women, and a global pandemic in full tilt, there’s a lot of work to be done. Not only that, but the rising political and social tensions among avid Trump supporters are cause for concern, especially over the next two months. 

There is no way to tell how Biden will respond to these social tensions; however, we know what he has said he will do, and we must make sure that it is done. His campaign consists of many plans to empower and provide equality for marginalized communities, tackle the climate crisis, and so much more. 

In a tweet on Saturday, Biden said, “Especially for those moments when this campaign was at its lowest — the African American community stood up again for me. They always have my back, and I’ll have yours.”

Many Black citizens are skeptical of whether Biden will reform the systems that have held them down for so long, but this tweet at the very least has provided hope. Activist Shaun King acknowledged this too in a response on Twitter, saying that “these are words we must hold him to.”

King also wrote this in a tweet on Friday: “Today, not tomorrow, not January 1st, not Inauguration Day a few weeks later, is the day that we begin fighting to hold Joe Biden accountable.” Accountability will hopefully become a new American value, but we must extend this same accountability to Harris as well. 

Biden’s victory is not only a victory for democracy but for Harris and the Black and South Asian Americans everywhere. Harris has broken the long lineage of white male Vice-Presidents, becoming the first woman, the first Black person, and the first person of South Asian descent to be elected to such a position.

However, her past is not paved in golden bricks emblazoned with progressive rhetoric. 

Amid the recent rise of the BLM movement, her past as a prosecutor during one of the worst times for African Americans — in regards to California’s legal system—  was not lost on Black voters. Prior to her stint as California’s first Black senator, she served as a prosecutor for 27 years and was responsible for enforcing laws that implicitly targeted Black Americans. 

While Harris herself did not pass the laws in question, her time as a prosecutor during the tough-on-crime political culture in California coincided with an influx of African Americans in the Californian prison system, where the incarceration rate of Black Americans is five times higher than their percentage of the California population. 

The long history of tensions between America’s Black community and law enforcement has caused deep mistrust. Considering that policing in America was originally branded as “slave patrol,” this mistrust is valid and its roots run deep. 

Because Harris has personally benefited from both her time as an attorney general and as a senator, many fear that she will lose sight of the Black struggle during her time as Vice-President. 

The pandemic itself poses so many more challenges for the Biden administration. When Biden enters office, he will be faced with curbing the pandemic and providing long overdue financial and social aid for all those affected by it, including repairing the economy in wake of Trump’s neglect. 

He will also have to address the racial disparities that have been accentuated by the events that began unfolding in early June, starting with the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. These deaths, as well as many others that surfaced in mainstream media, gave light to a much larger issue with the policing and legal system of America — both of which he will hopefully address when he begins his presidency. 

Of course, there are many other social issues that will need to be addressed over the next four years, especially ones that were made worse during the Trump administration, currently at the forefront of which are women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQIA+ equality, both of which have come under attack in light of Amy Coney Barrett being appointed to the Supreme Court. 

Needless to say, there is a lot to anticipate in the coming four years. While we cannot predict the future, we can be grateful that we will soon have an administration that respects science and appears to value accountability.