Biden’s inauguration starts a transition to normalcy

Jackson Rickert, Opinions Editor, Columnist

Earlier this week, Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. With him began a return to normalcy. While the world is still engulfed in crisis and conflict, the air feels calmer and the country feels somehow more unified. Not to say that the deep divisions recently sown throughout the country are gone, but I’ve definitely felt that the vitriol and anger has died down a little bit.

It’s amazing to me how much of a relief it is to have Biden in charge. I’ve made it no secret in any facet of my life that I’ve never been a fan of Donald Trump; I’ve been a Democrat for as long as I’ve cared about politics and supported Bernie for the bid these past few years. While I did support Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, I’ve been rooting for Biden since he won the nomination, confident in his ability to move America in the right direction. Now, to finally have Trump out of office, it is a relief of which I anticipated the reality, but not the scope. Sure, I expected to feel less anxious, but actually having someone experienced and “presidential” in office has had a profound effect on my mental state, overall, and I think that goes for the country too.

What has struck me the most, though, is the lack of urgency. That is not to say that Biden and the rest of the government do not have urgent problems to solve, nor that the American people need not act urgently. Our nation is still racked with deep-rooted problems like systemic racism, political division, the threat of climate change, the current pandemic, an economic downturn and all sorts of other subtle problems. Our urgency is a different kind than what we’ve had for the past for years. Under Trump, it was an urgency of needing to constantly watch the news, be aware every minute of the many ways in which our processes and values were being degraded and bastardized; it was a responsibility to hold the nation accountable and protect democracy. While that is always the duty of any citizen of the United States, it feels very much lessened now under the leadership of an experienced and especially level-headed, public servant. 

Biden, in his first hours and days, has already spoken more kind words than Trump did in his four years. His message has been of forgiveness, he has urged America to follow the paths of tolerance and progress. Mostly, Biden has felt very presidential and diplomatic.

I very much look forward to the Biden administration. While the nation still has a rugged path ahead, and Biden will surely make mistakes along the way, I finally feel confident in saying that the nation is in good hands again. They are the hands of experience, they are the hands of compassion, but perhaps most importantly they are the hands of a leader.