I was 19 years-old when Trump was elected President of the United States. I was writing at my first publication — The Cougar — for the opinion section and wrote a piece on my thoughts of the results. Looking back 71 articles and four years later, I’m laughing at myself.
The optimism that I had was cute. The journalistic cynicism hadn’t hit yet, I couldn’t drink, and wasn’t reading, writing, and thinking as much.
That article was filled with hope toward a person that had not earned it and showed no intention of delivering.
The 2016 election was the first time I was able to participate in a national election. Not only was this my first time being a politically active citizen, but it also happened to be a larger political time in America that will cast — and continue to cast — reverberations through the entire country.
My entire life I have been told to believe the lie of America. I believed that we were always striving to be what we say we are. I believed that racism was fringe. I believed that collectively we would do the right thing always.
All of that was a lie; And I got to see it in real time on November 3, 2016.
Now here we are, a week after the inauguration of President Biden. I’m seeing people say it’s a return to normalcy. The media isn’t in a frenzy anymore and they don’t know what to do with themselves as a result of it. However, this normalcy is again, a lie.
Trump still happened and we must not pretend that he didn’t, in the same way we pretended that that we lived in a post-racial society after President Obama. The attacks on the disenfranchised from embolden white supremacist by the presidency happened and will continue to happen. And just because another body inhabits the White House does not mean that the events of the past four years are a footnote.
The people that committed these transgressions cannot hide back into their holes. They have shown their selves and no amount of sympathy or repentance can take back or forgive these acts.
The mobilization of people that we have seen especially this past summer, the type of organization that we have seen around elections, and the accountability to political powers must continue.
If you subscribe to the idea of normalcy, what was is that you willingly overlooked before Trump that you considered normal? Was it racist policy, was it the upholding of the status quo that excluded black and brown people, was it the casual sexism that we engaged with?
Nothing that infringes on the decent humanity of people is normal. The want to live a normal life should not be impeded by the state that is sworn to serve its people.
With Biden now in the White House, do I think he will be comparatively better than Trump, sure. But I now know to not count on the elected to raise up the people when the state that they work for is designed to keep them down. I now know that the system isn’t bad, it’s broken. And the government will be changed forever and the people that will bear most of the burden will be the ones that always have.