America – We Have Won! But What Now?
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris holds hands with President-elect Joe Biden and her husband Doug Emhoff as they celebrate Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

America – We Have Won! But What Now?

 

Well, America, we have successfully defeated Donald Trump. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be the next president and vice president of the United States of America. While Trump refuses to accept the results as legitimate, Biden has amassed a nearly 4 million vote lead and the current electoral college standing is Biden – 290, Trump – 214. At this point, even if Trump were somehow able to contest the election results in a state or two, the results are overwhelming enough that short of an outright coup, Joe Biden will be our 46th president.

But our jobs are not done. As they say, we have only won the battle, not the war. While we can take some time to celebrate and cool off for a bit, there are still many issues that plague the united states.

First and foremost, we NEED to control the virus. The US just passed 10 million total cases and 237,000 deaths. Joe Biden plans to combat the virus by first having clear communication with the public. Under the Trump administration, there have been many mixed messages, conflicting information, and outright lies. Biden plans to refer to the CDC and placing adequate trust in the scientists who know best how to handle the virus.

This starts with creating an appropriate guideline on properly opening schools and businesses. This will help make determinations of what kind of restrictions are needed or even if another stay-at-home order is needed. Another key issue is to ramp up the testing and contact tracing. Biden pledges to put together a team of 100,000 Americans to start a contact tracing regimen. The goal is to work with local communities so that they can effectively monitor COVID-19 in their areas.

One problem that is often overlooked regarding COVID-19 is that at one point, roughly 27 million workers had lost their health insurance during the pandemic. Because health insurance is tied to their employment (a practice that needs to be ended ASAP), when the economy was shutting down and people were being laid off, they were losing their health coverage. The Biden plan proposes to provide coverage via COBRA for all those who are currently uninsured. I personally do not like this as COBRA is convoluted and extremely expensive. I believe a better option would be to instead use Medicaid – but that would just make too much sense.

The aspect of the Biden plan that I am most impressed by is his plan for providing caregiving assistance. To start, states will be provided with the necessary funding to keep direct and childcare among other vital public services running. This will also expand the overall access to 3 and 4-year-old preschool and elderly care services. The aspect of this part of the plan that excites me most is that a portion of the funding will go directly to the workers. They will receive increased pay and benefits as well as increased training and the option to join a union. I for one greatly appreciate this. You could have the best devised plan, but if you are not able to adequately take care of the people who enact on the plan, it will almost surely fail.

And finally, the Biden COVID-19 plan will provide states with the necessary PPE, funding, and guidance on the planning and distribution of a vaccine, when available. Biden states that he plans to use the Defense Production Act to increase the production of PPE so that supply exceeds demand.

This plan seems fine, but outside of the piece about increased benefits for the workers and an emphasis on caregivers, it does not seem that exceptional. At this point it is more along the lines of just following common sense. But the future does not stop with COVID-19, there are many more inadequacies in the United States.

The country is still facing a massive Opioid epidemic, child poverty, police violence, wage stagnation, unbelievable medical and student loan debt, a climate crisis, and on and on. Basically, our work is nowhere near complete. We may have saved democracy for the next 4 years, but our country is still incredibly flawed. Now is not the time to settle down and get complacent. We just need to refocus our efforts onto the actual systemic issues that plague our nation.

As citizens of the United States, its our duty to hold our representatives accountable for their performance on tackling these issues. We need to stay politically engaged – no, this does not may stay glued to your TV news 24/7. But we need to be aware of what is going on around us in our communities. So maybe attend your local town hall occasionally. Or

And if you would like to take it a step further, join an advocacy group. Find something that you care deeply about and join a group of like-minded individuals to work on finding solutions to those problems. Much of the success for beating Donald Trump in this election comes from the work of such groups, especially in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Detroit. Groups worked tirelessly to ensure people were registered to vote, knew their polling locations, and provided transportation assistance if needed. For anyone in South Carolina, SCIWAY has a list of organizations here.

And finally, become more involved in your local political party. This does not mean that you must be involved in campaigning, but just reach out and open a dialogue. Let them know what you care about, what issues you believe need attention. The more communication between the political parties and their constituents, the more progress that can get accomplished.

And for myself, I pledge to be more politically engaged than ever. I have joined my local Democratic Socialists of America chapter to fight for better healthcare, more democratic politics and workplaces, battling climate change, and more. And for 2022, I will be working as a part of some local campaign. Whose campaign? No idea yet. But I passionately believe there is a need here locally to advocate for the majority – the working class.

I expect all of you to hold me accountable. And I will do the same with all of you. We will make a difference, I promise.

PS – If you are interested in joining the DSA, go here. And if you would like to discuss what the DSA does or have any questions about it, feel free to contact me.

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