“Social media has now allowed me to advocate for what I’m passionate about at the highest level of our government,” said J.C. Dombrowski. “I am so thankful that social media has opened doors up for me—doors I didn’t even know existed in the first place.”
In the aftermath of President-Elect Biden fulfilling his oft cited campaign promise to beat Trump “like a drum” in the 2020 election, there has been an outpouring of rhetoric from the political middle for unity — a term which has grown increasingly difficult to be uttered unsarcastically in recent years of American political life. Biden himself has thus far stayed true to his desire to “lower the temperature” amidst appointments of qualified, long time civil servants to cabinet positions (doesn’t that just give you goosebumps?) and his recent Thanksgiving address in which he called for Americans “to put away the harsh rhetoric” and “give each other a chance.”
These calls to action are responsible, prudent action in this brutally polarized time. To call it responsible and prudent sounds like rather bland praise, but in juxtaposition to our current president’s brand of reckless authoritarianism, it’s actually the most deeply adoring praise I can write. Yet as the glow gradually fades from the realization we have finally restored a person who actually takes the custodianship of our democracy seriously, we are left with a profoundly difficult question posed to each of us as individuals: How do we “give each other a chance”?
Centrists in both parties have made their strategy clear through a steady deluge of op-eds calling for Biden to act during these crisis stricken times with restraint and bipartisanship — a strategy which may sound familiar to anyone who has ever attempted to put out a raging fire with an empty fire extinguisher. Progressives receive this refrain with a groan, describing the notion that a potential McConnell led Senate will be even mildly cooperative as laughable and casting an eye back to what they deem as the failures of the Obama administration in its various legislative compromises: failures which eventually led to the efficacy of Trump’s nativist, populist message in 2016.
Days after news outlets called the election for the Biden-Harris ticket, the presidential transition team released a list of members on its agency review teams — and 19 of them are Cornellians, including former University president David Skorton.
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” — The dying wish of Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54
In confirming Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Senate Republicans have essentially said, “Whatever.”
Watching the confirmation on Oct. 26, as Democrats had all but given up on fighting the inevitable, I could feel a sense of helplessness creeping. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, aware that there was nothing left to do, said that Republicans would regret their actions “for a lot longer than they think.” He called the confirmation one of the Senate’s “darkest days.” All this bleak rhetoric left me feeling the same way I felt the night Ginsburg died: deeply saddened, yet powerless to change the outcome.
No matter how blatant the hypocrisy was, Republicans insisted that they could find a justification for their actions. Senator Ted Cruz recited esoteric court confirmations from the 1800’s, shamelessly plugging his new book. Senator Lindsey Graham, declaring he wouldn’t seek a confirmation in an election year, and urging the nation to “hold the tape,” seemed unwilling to be held to his own standard.
“Donald Trump’s presidency has unleashed a form of nuclear energy of fundraising down the ballot,” Israel said. “The best fundraising tool for Democrats down the ballot in the 2020 election cycle has been anti-Trump sentiment.”
With outstanding early and absentee ballots yet to be counted, it seems like the presidential election will take a long time — maybe days — before conclusive results are announced. Both candidates gave speeches of confidence late in the night, but victory couldn’t be formally declared. The night was tense and many fear for their futures, the futures of their loved ones and the future of the nation. Knowing this, we must not let the battle for progressive change end, regardless of the election’s outcome. Racial injustice, climate change and COVID-19 have not gone away; they never will without pressure from the people.