Opinion: Joe Biden is not America’s savior

Why the new president is not our answer to social change


Amanda Acosta

Over the course of the last four years, the Trump administration has caused significant civil unrest and division amongst Americans. However, our new centrist democratic president, Joe Biden, is not going to clean up this mess alone.

Donald Trump did not create racism in America, he just gave it a platform as a racist himself. In response to the Charlottesville protests back in 2018, Trump said that there were “very fine people on both sides” when one of the sides he was referring to were neo-Nazis. He also tweeted in 2019 that Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib are “from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” and that they should “go back” to those countries.

While those are only a couple of examples of how Trump directly inspired racism in this country, there are countless others. The problem is that he is not alone in his bigoted beliefs; almost 74 million Americans showed that they tolerated and/or agreed with them when they voted to re-elect Trump in the 2020 election that Joe Biden now has to govern. This large number is no surprise. Systemic racism is deeply rooted in United States history and is unfortunately far from its demise time soon. 

That being said, Joe Biden cannot singlehandedly end or “root out” systemic racism as he likes to put it–especially not with his track record. His support for the passage of the 1994 Crime Bill largely contributed to the mass incarceration of African-Americans for minor drug offenses. Biden has since admitted that the bill “failed in [some areas],” but how can Americans be confident in his capability to “root out systemic racism” in this country when he can barely admit his own faults in contributing to it?

The answer is: they can’t. For as long as Joe Biden is a centrist, it will be up to the American people to push for progressive legislation themselves. Biden’s goal as a centrist is to appeal to all Americans, which is problematic. Appealing to all Americans also means appealing to the 74 million that either support or tolerate Trump’s racist rhetoric and policies. 

This means that Biden will most likely not make any progressive change without pressure from the public; he’s too scared of upsetting Republicans and other moderate Democrats. This is a rational thing to be scared of. They are after all what makes up most of our government here in America. 

Luckily, there are a few progressives that hold political power, like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Stacey Abrams. In fact, these politicians helped Biden win minority votes in this election. However, their political influence does not mean that Americans can just stop fighting for social change on their own. 

While Biden has shown support for the Black Lives Matter movement, he has made it vocal that he is unsupportive of defunding the police, which is one of the most important policies that the movement is pushing for. Biden, like many other moderates, does not see the bigger picture. Defunding law enforcement would put more money into social services that are better equipped to deal with the many 911 calls that are for nonviolent encounters, which would hopefully lead to fewer police-inflicted deaths. 

With Biden already neglecting proposed progressive policies as expected, it’s time that Americans realize that Joe Biden is not America’s knight in shining armor; he is the lesser of two evils. It just so happens that one of those evils was really evil. That does not mean Biden should be put on a pedestal. Americans cannot afford to stop their fight for social justice now.