You settled for Biden. Now what?

Elise Fjelstad, Copy Editor

At the beginning of November, I was one of many young progressive voters that begrudgingly filled out my ballot for Joseph R. Biden (D). Biden was not many people’s first choice for the Democratic nominee. Personally, Biden wasn’t even my third or fourth pick, and a video of someone dancing and shaking a pill bottle to the chant “Please don’t make me vote for Joe Biden!” went viral on TikTok back in 2019.

However, after four years of a president who spewed hate towards women and immigrants, backed legislation harming the LGBTQ+ community, spread misinformation, attacked the free press, and overall engaged in extremely discriminatory and divisive rhetoric, we recognized the need for change, and settled for the only viable alternative.

As of today, Jan. 20, 2021, Joe Biden will be inaugurated into the presidential seat, after successfully winning both the electoral and popular vote, and having the unsubstantiated lawsuits filed by the Trump administration thrown out. The removal of Trump is undoubtedly a cause for celebration for liberals and leftists, but we mustn’t forget that this is only a start; much more work is to be done.

First, it must be acknowledged that we live in a country where a person like Donald Trump was able to win a presidential election in the first place, and still won 74.2 million votes the second time around. That is 74.2 million people that were willing to vote for someone with no political experience who built a platform based on racism and nationalism; as evidenced by the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

We need to start by education, even on a small level. Talking with friends and family can be difficult, but preventing the spread of misinformation helps prevent the spread of misinformed opinions and decisions. It is also essential to educate ourselves as well, so continue to fact-check, challenge your thinking, and grow.

The second thing is to hold Biden accountable and never refrain from criticism. Idolizing politicians is counterproductive, as they are supposed to be loyal to us instead of vice versa. I witness many Americans who refuse to criticize politicians they voted for, however that detracts from democracy as an institution.

Community care and continuing harm reduction is perhaps the most important action to take these next four years. Donating to mutual aid funds can ensure help for society’s most vulnerable groups. In addition, paying attention to and voting in local elections directly impacts the community, so making sure that you participate in small scale politics leads to tangible change that also matters.

Don’t let Joe Biden’s election allow complacency. 81.2 million people cast their vote for a candidate who, I’m assuming, they hope will bring needed change to the country. However, voting is the bare minimum. We also need to ensure that people are taken care of, Biden delivers on his promises, and that his presidency makes way for a better America.