OPINION: Joe Biden was not my first choice for president- I settled

Some Sac State students say Biden was the lesser of two evils

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“Joe Biden” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Magaly Muñoz, opinion editor

Five days of nail-biting anticipation led to the results of one of the biggest elections of the 21st century: Joe Biden is the new president-elect of the United States.

While celebrations broke out all over America after Biden was announced as the president-elect Saturday morning, I was quickly brought back to reality and realized I wasn’t crying for joy over Biden’s win, but finally taking a breath of relief that Donald Trump was soon being kicked out of the White House. I was celebrating who was leaving office, not who was walking into it.

Biden was not my first choice for president. Hell, he wasn’t even my third.

Getting Trump out of office was my goal, no matter who the Democratic nominee was, but that still didn’t make me happy that Biden would soon take over the monumental role that 45 destroyed.

I needed to know that I wasn’t alone in not being satisfied by his win, so I went to social media to ask fellow Sac State students whether President-elect Joe Biden was their first choice or if they settled to vote for him.

Sophomore political science major Nikki Gallegos said Biden, along with Beto O’Rourke, was her second or third choice for president, but her first was Bernie Sanders.

“I love bernie but realistically he wouldn’t have won because america isn’t ready for his progressive ideas yet,” Gallegos said via Instagram DM.

As someone who absolutely adores and supports Bernie Sanders, I will never forgive America for not making him the Democratic nominee for president two elections in a row. 

Sanders fought for civil rights issues in the heat of the movement. He has continuously advocated for women’s rights, fighting for equal pay and against harassment in the workplace. He has a strong plan to fight against the dangers that climate change will bring to us in the near future. We had the perfect candidate in our grasp and we let him go yet again.

I will give Biden credit — like Sanders, he didn’t build his campaign on hate or bigotry like Trump did. Biden wants to unite the American people to see beyond blue versus red, and seeing responses like Gallegos’, which brought up the president-elect’s empathy and love of the public, made me not hate him so much.

Mac Harrington, a senior kinesiology major who also favored Bernie, said, “Definitely wasn’t my first choice [Biden] but glad to have someone who is clearly qualified, presidential, and has empathy for people back in the office and was glad to see when it came down to it the 4 million more people thought the same way.”

But Biden’s love for Americans doesn’t keep him off the hook for his past actions that he surely has to answer for as the current president-elect. Basic respect for the people is so below the bar for a president and it’s sad that we even have to celebrate it.

With Biden’s decades long career in politics, he’s been not only an advocate, but also an author to many laws that have negatively affected minority groups in America. He supported the war on drugs and called for harsher punishments on drug dealers in the ‘90s, and soon after that, wrote laws that contributed to the mass incrimination of poor communities, which house already disproportionately disadvantaged people like Black and brown individuals.

On top of his own history of mass incarceration, let’s also not forget who Joe Biden’s vice president will be: former California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

I had almost forgotten that Harris infamously initiated the anti-truancy law that ultimately led to $2,000 fines and allowed police to file misdemeanor charges on parents who couldn’t consistently get their kids to school everyday. 

This law targeted poor communities and left them in fear of losing their children or paying off fees that they very obviously couldn’t pay. How did Harris know the situation of every single family that wasn’t able to get their kids to school? Maybe the parents were working two jobs and weren’t there when their kids woke up, or maybe transportation was hard to find for them. Whatever the reason, Harris’ laws did more harm than good in a lot of cases.

Although Biden and Harris have both apologized for their part in legislation that disgustingly targeted poor Black people and other people of color, their next four years needs to prove that they are more than their public apologies they need to back it up with action.

There were students like Eliot Park, a hospitality and tourism major, and Sophia Esquival, a child development major, whose first choice was Biden. Their responses helped me remember that not everything about Biden was negative.

Both students referenced Biden’s immediate plans to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. Park said he voted for Biden because the president-elect will listen to scientists and health professionals to get the pandemic under control.

COVID-19 cases in the country have surpassed 10 million, with deaths at almost 250,000. Biden has already made a public message of strongly encouraging masks and once in office, he plans to implement mandates that governors place on each state to require face coverings in public spaces. Where Trump has ignorantly taken a back seat in our fight with the virus, Biden will hopefully pick up the slack.

Esquival, along with other students who responded, pointed out that Biden is an ally to a lot of groups who are currently at the forefront of movements fighting for their rights. She said she voted for the future of women and to be able to decide what she wants to do with her own body, without someone else making that decision. 

With the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, many women, nonbinary people and transgender individuals are scared that abortions and accessible reproductive care would be at risk. Biden intends to make Roe v Wade “the law of the land” should it continue to be at risk for overturn.

Gianna Misasi, health science major, summed up why voting for Biden was the best option. 

“To me, a vote for Biden-Harris was a vote against racism, oppression, bigotry, sexism,etc. and a vote for equality, unity, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and much more,” Misasi said via Instagram DM.

It’s hard for me to like Biden when I know there were other candidates who could get the job done and not have the track record that currently precedes our president-elect, but most of the students I spoke to agreed that he was the lesser of two evils. I’d vote for a stale piece of bread before I’d ever vote for Trump.

As much as I want to hate Biden, I know he’ll bring the change that is needed right now in America.

Biden probably won’t be able to get rid of the horrors and traumas that Trump awakened during his presidency, like elevating white supremacy, ripping away children from their parents or fighting against women’s rights, but he sure as hell is a step in the right direction.