Even now, the work is not over

Whether+or+not+we+like+it+or+want+it+on+our+list+of+responsibilities%2C+change+falls+in+our+hands%E2%80%94on+the+people.+This+is+the+time+for+us+to+continue+to+come+together%2C+address+these+issues%2C+and+make+this+country+one.

Media: Lizzie Heintz

Whether or not we like it or want it on our list of responsibilities, change falls in our hands—on the people. This is the time for us to continue to come together, address these issues, and make this country one.

By Editorial Board

And just like that, President Donald Trump’s reign is over. But the work for equity? For justice? For a better world? Far from done. 

Around the world, supporters of President-elect Joe Biden have swept the streets, beaming with joy and hope for the first time in four years. Millions across the country no longer have to live in a perpetual state of anxiety about what the president may tweet or say that belittles their identities or experiences. No one is nervous to refresh the homepage of the New York Times and see Trump calling people’s homelands “shithole countries,” mocking a disabled reporter, or suggesting citizens drink bleach to combat the coronavirus

Sadly, Trump’s grip on his supporters—those who perpetuate hate and bigotry—remains. More than 70 million people voted for the man who occupied the White House since 2016. They fervently supported him when he insulted marginalized communities. They accepted his lies as truth. They let his insults slide. Even now, some are standing by his baseless claims of voter fraud and illegal ballot counting—all in an attempt to keep Trump the leader of the free world, a position he never should have had in the first place. 

That reality is jarring and scary. It means that, even in a country where swaths of Americans are fighting for their right to exist, millions devalued their peers by casting a ballot for Trump. Sixty-three percent of white non-college educated voters chose Trump, as did the majority of white women, according to the Financial Times. More than 50 percent of families with a household income above $100,000 voted for Trump per the same data. 

Months before the polls opened, Trump’s mishandling of COVID-19 repeatedly threw the country into multiple surges of infection. According to an Associated Press analysis, 93 percent of counties in the 376 counties with the highest number of new cases per capita voted for Trump. These people saw their friends, family, and neighbors quarantine, sometimes fall violently sick and even die—then they voted for Trump. Most were rural counties in Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Wisconsin that often slack on social distancing, mask-wearing and other public health measures. 

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The inauguration of Biden and his administration hopefully means we no longer remain in our level of complacency with the pandemic. Biden’s plan calls for empowering the scientists and health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide evidence-based guidelines to stop outbreaks, as well as mapping out a plan for effective, equitable treatments and vaccines. This sounds great on paper, but the president-elect needs to be held to these objectives that he committed to on the campaign trail. These aren’t just plans. They are promises. We should follow the lead of European countries shutting down for a second lockdown. It’s a critical time now for the U.S. to use science and make rational decisions to make it through the pandemic. It may not be our job to enforce this mission, but it will likely be our responsibility. 

Leaders across the country have repeatedly flaked on their promises when it comes to the pandemic. We must hold them accountable. 

Without the authoritative grip of the Trump administration, the country can also finally start taking steps forward in terms of climate change. We no longer have to explain the existence of climate change to those in power. Instead, we can encourage the elected officials pushing for a greener and cleaner future. The Green New Deal is already out there, thanks to Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts native Ed Markey. It rallies for net-zero emissions by 2050, an overhauled transportation system, and a gradual move away from fossil fuel industries, among other propositions. And across the country, it has garnered more support than some officials like to give it credit for. According to Data For Progress, a majority of people support the historic legislation in an overwhelming number of states. 

Over the past four years, the Trump administration also attempted to stoke racial divisions in housing. Their strategies stroked fears in suburban voters of poor urban residents, who are majority people of color. They’ve made no progress lessening the debilitating impacts of student debt. They’ve tried to eradicate steps forward for universal health care. They’ve made decisions that benefit the rich and leave the poor behind. They’ve let people die, for more reasons than one. 

That means the future holds so, so, so much more. And whether or not we like it or want it on our list of responsibilities, change falls in our hands—on the people. This is the time for us to continue to come together, address these issues, and make this country one.

The Berkeley Beacon Editorial Board is the voice of the student newspaper that looks to serve the Emerson College community with thoughtful insight into ongoings and occurrences affecting their everyday lives. The board’s positions are determined by its members. The board consists of the editor-in-chief, managing editors, and opinion editors. The opinions expressed by the Editorial Board do not impact the paper’s coverage. You can respond to a position brought forward by The Beacon Editorial Board in the form of a Letter to The Editor by email: [email protected].