Editorial: The fight for social justice does not end with a new administration


Iowa Black Lives Matter organizers in Ames and Des Moines have been fighting for social justice and Black lives. 

Editorial Board

It is a new year and a new president in the White House, but many of the same social issues still remain in the United States.

Fighting for racial justice, for LGBTQIA+ rights, for a woman to have the rights to her own body, for veterans having access to health care, for so many other issues is still incredibly important. Just because Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are now in charge of the United States does not mean that the fight for those issues is over.

For many people on the right, these issues may seem “too progressive” or “too liberal” or “not as important as the economy,” but for much more of the United States population, these issues often relate to life or death. They relate to the ability to live life openly and fully and happily. These issues are not something to give up on. They are not something to sit down and shut up about just because a Democrat is the president.

Joe Biden is not a god. He is not some almighty figure to worship. He is not a person that is meant to be put on a pedestal. Joe Biden is the president of the United States and nothing more. His job is to represent the people, hear their needs, assuage their fears and fight for those who need it. 

The problem that happened with Donald Trump was that too many people viewed him as a god. They placed him on a pedestal. They placed him in a role above president. They viewed him as untouchable and thus undenounceable. People were afraid to speak out against him in his own party. What happens when a politician is fueled by such cult-like belief is that they forget about the people. They forget about why they are there. They forget about anything about themselves and focus solely on the power, the fame, their Twitter account.

This is why President Biden and Vice President Harris must be questioned before every move they make. Every decision and policy they make needs to be scrutinized and all the fine print needs to be read.

Those who support this administration need to not make the same mistakes that were made in the previous administration, because once a figure in Biden’s position becomes so idolized the extremists of those supporters are the only ones who become heard. Then we end up with conspiracy theories and sieges on public buildings, whereas we need policy on climate change and racial justice.

However, just because it is important we keep this new administration in check does not mean we cannot celebrate it.

Joe Biden becoming president was a win for all marginalized people in the United States. Throughout his campaigns and speeches Biden regularly supported women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights and racial justice. The day Biden was announced as the president-elect people across the United States celebrated that victory. It meant they could breathe again. It meant they could be their authentic selves. It meant there was hope in a time of discrimination.

Another big win is Kamala Harris, the first woman and the first Black and Asian person to be vice president of the United States. That is exactly the good thing that needs to be celebrated after four years of the identities she holds being discriminated against. Young people who hold similar identities to her can celebrate, they can have someone to look up to and they can have a role model that looks like them and that in and of itself is a win.

And so far, Biden has made good on a lot of his promises. On his first day he rescinded the Muslim travel ban, protected LGBTQIA+ rights, stopped the border wall, protected Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and put blocks in place to address racial justice.

Throughout the days following his first he did many more good things, many of them for the environment and immigration reform. He even started addressing the prison industrial complex.

However, this is just the beginning of his administration and people need to keep Biden progressing at this speed. These executive orders are a good start but we need solid policies and legislation to make the changes in those executive orders stick. We need that legislation to keep these protections Biden has already put in place. We need that legislation to not immediately reset these protections if a president with wildly different views comes into office next. 

So yes, celebrate the Biden-Harris victory.

So yes, take a breath of fresh air.

But after that breath, keep fighting until there is nothing that needs to be fought for.