By Senator Lena C. Taylor
Biden Election Only the First Step
The inauguration of the 46th President of the United States was unlike any we have ever seen. It was historic, defiant, norm-busting and tragic all at the same time. Many Americans, and for that matter, people around the world, watched the events that unfolded over the inauguration weekend. Afterall, we made history in electing a woman to the second-highest ranking position in the country. The Trump era has been bookended by the first African American president and the first African American vice president. Perhaps that was a part of the problem.
Just two weeks earlier, we saw an attack on our nation’s Capital. As investigations and arrests of the rioters dominated headlines, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. was sworn in to the presidency. Instead of the roughly 200,000 people that would normally descend on the National Mall, a comparable number of American flags were placed there in their stead. Kamala Harris was sworn in as vice president. It is safe to say that 20,000 women of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. Sorority would have shown up to cheer our sister on. In their place were 25,000 U.S. National Guard. So much for the peaceful transition of power.
We did get through the pomp and circumstance, of the occasion, without any significant issue. Yet, the threat of unrest, protest and danger changed much about the “pomp.” Trump ducked out the back door to deny us a visual transfer of power. The parade just didn’t feel like a parade and many of the big social events didn’t happen. Maybe because COVID-19 was finally taken seriously by a White House administration.
We certainly had not experienced a national observance of the more than 400,000 lives lost to this awful virus. The massive light display representing those lives, that Biden and Harris included as a part of their inaugural activities, felt tragic and needed, all at the same time. It’s hard to wrap your head around the scale of that amount of death. It is just one aspect of the work facing the Biden/Harris administration and the 117th congress.
We have national security, record unemployment, immigration issues, travel bans, a COVID-19 vaccination crisis and more. On day one, Biden signed a number of executive orders to reverse many Trump era policies. However, we can’t continue to be a nation governed by executive order ensuring that our policies change with each election. We have to do the work. Congress has to do the work. We can’t pass the buck, ignore the issues or refuse to debate policy and work towards consensus on bill passage. No matter which level of state government, we were elected to do the work.