Home Election 2020 OPINION: A Biden win will not fix everything — only the American people can do that

OPINION: A Biden win will not fix everything — only the American people can do that

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Justin Thompson, a senior studying journalism, argues that local politics need to be the focus in the future so the United States can enact real change and escape its current situation.

Please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political.

America was a simpler place back in 2016 when Donald Trump, the billionaire provocateur, became Donald Trump, the presidential provocateur. 

That was back before Charlottesville, his impeachment, racial justice protests, coronavirus, and innumerable rallies, press conferences, and tweets, united in their attempts to bolster the Trump brand, discredit naysayers and spread lies. 

Now, America’s divisions have been exposed. There is no topic that can’t be made divisive. Even a notion as logical as wearing a face mask to slow the spread of an airborne disease has drawn skepticism and prompted protests. 

Both Trump and Joe Biden have campaigned on promises to return the nation to some semblance of normalcy. For Biden, that means a coronavirus plan predicated on trusting scientists, a plan to promote racial justice rooted in combating housing discrimination and expanding access to quality education, and a promise to strengthen the economy by raising the minimum wage and eliminating tax breaks for big business.

Trump, on the other hand, slandered scientists, tweeted constantly about how low-income housing will “destroy the suburbs” and is more interested in congratulating himself on the strong state of the pre-pandemic economy than giving details on how he plans to bring it back. 

But the last four years have seen public trust in the federal government reach record lows.

A lack of faith in the federal government is widespread and shared across party lines. Republicans and Democrats alike would be well served to channel their passion into mayoral elections, city council meetings and local programs designed to help their own communities.

Instead, local elections are often ignored, even by those who have much to lose or gain by their outcomes. 

Regardless of which presidential candidate wins, half of the country will be outraged. With crises on so many fronts, we have a collective opportunity to redefine our national identity. Now is the time to shift our admiring and admonishing gazes away from the Oval Office and toward our local governments. 

Low voter turnout in local elections means that the candidate who wins often is not representative of the income, race or age of those in the community. In turn, citizens do not see their values reflected in their elected officials, lose even more faith in government and lose interest in voting in the future. It is a detrimental cycle that plagues officials and their constituents. 

A Joe Biden presidency will not heal our national wounds. We will wake up someday soon and realize that coronavirus is still raging, the criminal justice system is still targeting Black populations and the economy is still in shambles. Biden will incrementally chip away at change on those fronts, but he will not be the salvation that eliminates them.

Change will have to come from the ground up, rather than from the top down. Individuals making small, attainable changes in their communities will do more than either candidate could hope to accomplish. 

It will take a radical change in how Americans view politics, a switch from a national lens to a local one, but it might help us escape from our national nightmare and reclaim hope in America. 

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