By Contributing Author Jacob Borsting for Zaftyg Magazine, a graduate of San Francisco State University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science.
Take a walk around Washington DC the morning of the inauguration and things may seem different than in year’s past. Block after block, National Guard troops are stationed by the thousands. Surrounding the Capitol building is a perimeter with a fence over seven feet tall encapsulating the premises. While the inauguration has typically been a celebratory affair in the nation’s capitals- this year’s festivities are looking more like those enacted in preparation for warfare than celebration.
“The will of the people as been heard, and democracy has prevailed” – President Biden
The extreme precaution is understandable to many Americans given the troubling social and political circumstances our Country has faced over the past weeks. Riots and the storming of the Capitol by radical right-wing Trump supporters happened only two weeks ago. The tragedy left five people dead with rioters getting within feet of lawmakers, including Vice President Mike Pence and his family. With fear of a second attack or mass protest on everyone’s mind – the authorities are doing everything in their power to ensure a safe transition of power.
The militaristic backdrop won’t be the only change to this year’s inauguration. Breaking with tradition, President Trump has opted not to attend the event. It is the first time a President has not attended their successor’s inauguration since 1868 back when Andrew Johnson refused to attend then President-Elect Ulysses S. Grant’s ceremony. Instead Vice President Pence will attend the D.C. tradition, and it is even rumored Ivanka Trump may attend – in a bid to save her future political prospects.
But with all the security and political theater and the recent memory of the horrendous deadly acts committed on the Capitol earlier this month all too fresh – it is easy to forget the tremendous joy being felt by many across the country. Today, history will be written. A woman will rise to the Vice Presidency for the first time. The most progressive administration to ever take the White House will come to power. Perhaps most important to most, a return to normalcy will return to politics in America, with the Trump administration out of power. Despite the challenges surrounding the inauguration, there is good reason to celebrate.
With Joe Biden’s presidency comes a new agenda to the West Wing. At the top of the list – the coronavirus pandemic. The Biden administration is planning in its first hundred days to emphasize mask wearing, social distance and encourage Americans to get vaccinated Furthermore, the President-elect is planning on passing a 1.9 trillion dollar stimulus package intended to help minimize the economic hardships faced by many Americans throughout this crisis. The stimulus will include increased unemployment benefits, two new stimulus checks as well as an extension on the rent moratorium.
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But the pandemic isn’t the only thing this new Presidential Administration will be taking seriously. One of the top priorities of the new administration is the challenge of combating climate change. Reports indicate President-Elect Biden intends to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord through an executive order on his first day in office. It’ll be the first time climate change is even on the agenda of a Presidential administration since 2016.
These changes in policy won’t magically address the country’s political divisions overnight however, and the military personel and seven foot tall barricades will serve as a reminder to that throughout the day. While there is reason to be hopeful for the country, we must also be reserved and humbled as we consider the partisan rift that has taken hold of the country under Trump’s administration. But with unifying policies, President-Elect Biden and Vice-President Elect Harris offer a glimmer of hope that the nation can once again come together, regardless of party, and do what is right for the future of our country, our kids and ultimately the planet.
All Americans should hope for the success of the Biden administration as their successes will be America’s successes. Let us hope the next four years are full of unprecedented economic and social reform. Who knows? Maybe things will be so good in four years that the next inauguration doesn’t require thousands of armed troops and giant barricades! Happy inauguration day America!
By Contributing Author Jacob Borsting for Zaftyg, a graduate of San Francisco State University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science.
Image Source: Reuters