Saga Sound Off: My Party Won, What Now?

Two ELHS students, Mariah Riley and Paige Tangney, wrote in to the Saga an explanation about why people should or should not celebrate politicians and the results of the presidential elections after their party wins

Junior Paige Tagney,

The 2020 presidential election has come to an end and Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States with Kamala Harris as his VP. Although this is a step in the right direction, the fight is far from over. From following this race since the Democratic primaries, my eyes had opened to the nature of politicians, especially Joe Biden. Like many people who supported Biden, I was simply settling. Because the election is over, it is time to address Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s faults.
As supporters of Joe Biden, we cannot be hypocrites. We spent four years criticizing President Trump, so Biden needs the same treatment. Starting with his most controversial decision while working in politics: his 1994 Crime Bill. This bill increased incarceration rates of drug crimes and prison sentences on a federal level. Like most “tough on crime” legislation, this adversely affected POC in America. When dealing with drugs in the U.S., politicians tend to resort to jailing rather than helping addicts overcome their addiction.
If we are pushing for criminal justice reform, Biden needs to know that we will not stand for these policies any longer. Many people have wanted to defund the police, but Biden wants to give them more funds with the intention of reform. If you disagree with this, say something. Nothing gets done if politicians think they can pass policies we do not want without scrutiny. This includes politicians people adore. We have the first female Vice President who is Black and South Indian. We deserve to celebrate! Though celebrating
this fact, we cannot “girl-bossify” Kamala Harris. Harris did not use girl power when she incarcerated almost 2,000 people for marijuana offenses or allowed trans women to be put in men’s prisons. Using identity politics allows leaders to be idolized because they are a POC, a woman, or LGBT+. Although having these people in positions of power can be exciting, it does not exempt them from being wrong. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris campaigned on many policies that I agree with as well, such as a free public health care option and rejoining the Paris Agreement. Becoming the president means following through on these promises
and representing the people. I have a lot of hope for the Biden-Harris administration and what they will do for this country, but we cannot idolize politicians when they are meant to serve us. If they make a decision that I do not support, you can bet on me saying something.

Junior Mariah Riley,

After Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 presidential election, this should be a time of celebration
for a lot of people across the country. We finally will have the president, who has divided our country more than we’ve ever seen before and sent a wave of chaos crashing across the 50 states, out of the White House. I don’t think I need to explain why he was an unfit leader, because you could look up any news source and their articles would flood your device with the different terrible actions he has done and things he has said over the years.
Apparently, though, there are people who disagree and think that this is not a time for celebrating. As a 17-year-old minority, I think celebrating is exactly what we should be doing. As a country, we deserve a break from the nightmare of having Trump as president for four years. Especially as a minority, there has never been a time in my life where I felt like I had such a huge target on my back as I felt under Trump’s presidency. Having Joe Biden as the president does not mean that this country will automatically become perfect. Our country probably never will be, because it never was to begin with.
For me, having Joe Biden as our president means having a leader who isn’t going to tell white supremacists to stand back and stand by. He will make it known he doesn’t tolerate that type of behavior towards any group of people. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are not perfect people, but trying to name more than maybe three politicians that are is practically impossible. The election isn’t about having a sinless leader, this is about having a leader who will guide us in the right direction. It isn’t about having your ideal president who represents every single thing that you stand for. This should be about choosing the better option. And I choose for myself, in this moment, within this never-ending year, to look towards the future. Since I’m still a teenager and legally don’t have much power, I decided that when I look at the world and the news, to choose character over politics, humanity over policies, and morals over obligation. I hope you will too. Reevaluate any internal agenda you might have, and look at this country and the different groups inside of it that make
it what it is, and realize the end goal should be unity. We’ve spent far too long being divided.

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