With Trump’s term at its end, a mixed sense of both relief and fear is awash around the country. Many people see Biden’s election as a beacon of hope, while others see it as yet another indication of a long-failing system that must be reformed before it is too late.
Although the U.S. will undoubtedly see changes during the Biden presidency, it is hard not to wonder about the long-lasting consequences of the last four years, and ignoring the stain that Trump’s legacy has left on this nation has become utterly impossible.
So we are left to ask, “Will American democracy live on?”
It is inevitable that Trump’s influence will live on even after his term. His actions and rhetoric have exposed the true fragility of American democracy, actively undermining elections and enabling violence, with a prime example being none other than the Capitol assault.
Most of all, he both inspired and brought our attention to a part of America that many of us had dismissed, the hateful part of the population that seems to care more about power than a stable, functioning democracy. Now, this group has an even larger platform than before, and they are attempting to use their newfound authority to wrest control of the country.
According to the New York Times, the Capitol attack could “fuel extremist recruitment for years” and according to the Associated Press, “Hate crimes in the U.S. rose to the highest level in more than a decade as federal officials also recorded the highest number of hate-motivated killings since the FBI began collecting that data in the early 1990s” as of November.
And as nice as it would be to believe that Biden’s election will magically solve all of America’s problems, this is unfortunately just wishful thinking. The events that have transpired are not just the result of solely Trump’s power, but the countless politicians who were compliant and enabled his actions, as well the system that allowed them to do so in the first place. This very well could happen again if we are not cautious.
However, it is also important to understand why all of this is so crucial to repairing American democracy. Now that the whole country has seen just how deeply flawed our government is, our governors and officials can no longer turn a blind eye to the systematic issues that plague our nation today. It is disappointing that the U.S. had to dip so low to force them to acknowledge the problems they had dismissed, but otherwise, they would’ve kept maintaining their blissful ignorance until America reached its breaking point.
Because of this, I believe that while the U.S. may never be the same again, the new administration will change for the better. According to US News, “the former vice president is widely seen by registered voters as the candidate most capable of unifying the country.”
Nevertheless, there is still much to be done for that to happen. According to the Atlantic, “If Biden truly wishes to follow in FDR’s footsteps, if he seeks to restore faith in democracy, then he will have to be bolder than the Obama administration. If his ambitions begin and end with the restoration of the status quo ante, then he will leave the nation vulnerable to the next racist demagogue who comes along, who may not be as clownish, or as incompetent. American democracy must now prove itself worth saving. It will be an arduous task.”
If Americans wants their democracy to succeed, we must make changes as soon as possible, or else we will be unable to continue to move forward, and instead be stuck in a dark age of tyranny.
Graphic: Chloe Cho