It is no secret that America has been violently sliding towards authoritarianism since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidential term. For the past four years, Trump’s rhetoric has consisted almost entirely of lies and misinformation, yet over 74 million people still decided to vote for him in the 2020 general election. There were many economic, political, cultural, and societal changes that have allowed for Trump to be elected, but it is now painfully evident that the only thing that will keep him in power is brutal authoritarianism.
The armed insurrection at the US capital last Wednesday has proven itself to be a defining moment in American history. It was the direct result of years of a haunting slide towards authoritarianism in America. Trump and his Republican cronies have dedicated the past two months delegitimizing the electoral process in order to hang on to whatever is left of their political power. Their supporters, who have been radicalized through far-right media both online and Fox News, have decided to result to violence in order to seize the United States Capital.
The question now is how do we move ahead as a country? With Biden’s inauguration right around the corner, there are still widespread concerns of violence in Washington D.C. and at various state capitals across the country.
First, Trump should be convicted by the Senate in the upcoming trial that will likely eat into Biden’s first couple of days or weeks in office. It is important to set a precedent for future government officials that behavior that blatantly violates our constitution and democracy will not be accepted. Republicans who try to halt this process under the veil in the name of “unity” are simply trying to divert the political consequences they undoubtedly deserve for lying to the American people about the integrity of our election.
Second, Biden and his administration must rub the White House clean of all of the corrupt governmental stains Trump and his cronies will leave behind. This includes his Islamaphobic travel bans, weakened LGBTQ+ protections, and many other terrible executive policies. The first step towards real unity is ending blatant discrimination that has heightened existing tensions between various groups across the United States.
Finally, Biden must demonstrate he is committed to repairing the economic insecurities Trump and Republicans have exploited in order to obtain power. This includes the job dislocations as a result of hyper-globalization, rampant inequality from enormous tax cuts for the wealthy, and overall economic insecurity from a lack of job security and income.
So far, Biden has proven himself to be more progressive than many have anticipated. His newly announced $1.9 trillion relief package proposal is incredibly ambitious and will not only deliver direct support to working families across the country but demonstrate that the government is in fact there for you and not the evil entity Reagan made it out to be.
If one thing was clear in the chaos of today’s current political climate, it is that the path towards normality will be a treacherous one – full of potholes that must be skillfully avoided by our upcoming government in order to prevent a violent drift towards economic ruin and authoritarianism. The future is certainly bright, but we must make an active effort to not let the darkness of the past dim it.