When watching today’s inauguration and the speech given by Joesph R. Biden when he was officially sworn in as President, I couldn’t help but think about this quote:
President Biden faces the daunting challenge of bringing together a country, that two weeks ago began to understand how deeply embedded white supremacy and to some extent hindutva are, in the American political world. Having unboxed the white supremacists that threatened to unleash violence against lawmakers and to show our adversaries just how weak our governmental institutions are. With footage from the day of the riots showing some Capitol police waving rioters in into the complex while there was an ongoing legislative session wherein, lawmakers were doing their constitutional duty to certify the election results that were the subject of much debate and attempted violence at State Capitols around the United States as former President Trump and his legal counsel kept trying to paint the legitimate election as one that was mired in ‘fraud’ and that ‘legal votes weren’t counted’ all in a bid to not acknowledge that the American people did not give Trump another mandate to govern.
After unleashing COVID-19 in the United States, refusing to provide adequate vaccine supply to states, not shutting down international flights, holding the country hostage to Trump’s own horrid personality and political ambitions, it has indeed been a long road to the Biden presidency. After years of bungled federal government response to natural disasters, passing a $1.7 trillion dollar tax cut for those in the top 1% and the inhumanity of being locked up in immigration detention facilities, the expectation for Biden to get to work on urgently making sure that the United States can get itself out of multiple holes is a top responsibility.
On January 6th, the insurrection that occurred at the United States Capitol with the aid and abetting by members of US Congress such as US Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), and other freshman members of the United States House of Representatives, resulted in the theft of sensitive documents, work equipment, and more importantly demonstrated to the American public, the dangers of social media attention and the entire economy around building a brand– even if that brand promotes violence against people of color and threatens Democracy itself. Major social media companies such as Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat suspended the accounts of former President Trump and many others involved in promoting hate. This resulted in a second impeachment which was voted to proceed by the US House of Representatives, but stalled in the US Senate because of then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who served as a considerable obstacle to passing any legislation passed by the House. There are some members of Congress today who continued to work on building the case of impeachment to make sure that there was no doubt as to why Donald Trump is unfit to serve and a threat to national security.
Most bills died in the Senate because McConnell refused to even bring it up for a vote or debate. The Republican Party did not have an issue with replacing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she passed from a long ailment with Amy Coney Barret. With the swearing in of Jon Ossoff, Rafeal Warnock, and Alex Padilla (D-California) this means the US Senate is officially in Democrats hands. Madame Vice President Kamala Harris is the tie breaking vote in case the Senate is not able to deliberate on legislation. Alex Padilla was Governor Gavin Newsom’s pick to replace Kamala Harris in the United States Senate for the State of California.
It is was interesting to see the American exceptionalism on display as residents of Washington DC complained that their town looked more like a war zone than it resembled the nation’s capitol. National guard was called up from neighboring Virginia and Maryland because DC is not a state. Following the capital riots, the the need for DC to gain statehood was made a parent when mayor Bowser reported that the department of defense was not willing to authorize the use of military to disperse the rioters and to secure the area. The National Guard was called up from neighboring Virginia and Maryland because DC is not a state.
When you’re in an actual war zone you don’t get to go outside and buy groceries, and you have to fear what comes from the sky because you never know when your house is going to be turned into rubble and if you ever become a refugee, you live with the discomfort of knowing that nationalists in various countries will be very bigoted and violent towards you for wanting to seek safety and shelter within their walls. With the insecurity of not knowing whether you will have a house or will be able to get out with your belongings in time is something that doesn’t exist in Washington DC. the currency of protest in the nations capital is of course some thing to be worried about. But it is nowhere near the harsh realities that people around the world deal with under occupation 365 days a week and some of which the United States participates in. Well DC residents have been able to work from the comfort of their own homes that is not a reality for many people. That is not a luxury that you do not get in a war zone. People who are locked up in prisons around America as COVID-19 worsens, are also vulnerable to the lack of action and given the very limited ability to socially distance from other inmates, the severity and spread of COVID-19 is alarming and some thing that President Biden should get to resolving with guidance from public health experts.
Black activists who have been fighting back against police brutality over the past few years have been warning that law-enforcement and the military were infiltrated by white supremacists and the force used by cops, was due to the long-standing racism towards Black people in America. Police in America were founded as slave patrols in the very beginning of the republic. The continued racial dynamics between police and the murder of innocent Black people at their hands, continues to illustrate the point that they have been making for the past few years, which is that there is more value for white supremacists in the police force to lock up black Americans and punish them at higher rates than any other racial group. Help that officers involved in the killings of innocent Black people and even Kyle Rittenhouse who took a loaded gun into a George Floyd protest have gotten off the hook without any charges. Concerns around security remained high until inauguration day where the American public was expecting violence by Q-Anon supporters and the Proud Boys. As the work to unite the country only begins, so does the work of impeachment and, the people involved in the Capitol Hill riots being identified and booked accordingly.
The days of the Trump administration, with his usual paranoia about the people that he surrounds himself with, also played out when he tried to install Kash Patel as the Deputy to CIA Director Gina Haspel. There was much drama happening behind the scenes in trump world in early December even as he continued to bring a illegitimate claims of fraud against his political opposition Joe Biden and try to paint the legitimate election of the Democrat as a fraudulent one. 60 cases of litigation and counting after that found no basis in Trump’s claims about election fraud. The threats of violence as we approach the November 3 election certainly scared off a lot of first time and voters of color but in the end we managed to send a mandate by 80 million votes that we expected an America that reflected the values of inclusion not of division.
Just like the Trump administration had significantly high profile Indian Americans in the administration directing policy, there are some worries around the Indian Americans that Joe Biden himself has surrounded himself with and whether or not they support hindutva and our members of the overseas BJP sangh groups.
Modi Reacts to Losing an Ally in the White House
As expected, the international community weighed in and congratulated the new American President. A few interesting world leaders in particularly like Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Prime Minister Modi is a Trump ally and relied on the support of diaspora Indians to help him and Donald Trump remain in power.
Prime Minister Modi has been a largely insidious and inflammatory “leader” as his shuns the aid of international development organizations in the country, weaponizes laws like the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) as an attempt to crack down on dissent from activists who are vocal against his demonization of religious minorities in the country, newspapers and journalists speak out against the hindutva regime and continued horrific violence against the Dalit community. The farmers protest has been going on since September when the Indian Parliament passed the three farm laws that spell devastation for Indians primarily agrarian economy. From September to current January 20th, 2021, Punjabi farmers have been in the nations capital of demanding the end to these farmers. Farmers across the country have joined in the protest as well. Members of the UK parliament, members of the Canadian Parliament, members of the United States Congress, have been united in their efforts to communicate to ambassadors to each respective country, that is formed laws are destructive.
Biden has been officially sworn in as president, he faces the test of standing up to Modi as he continues to push India to the far right into a fascist state. Modi and Trump enjoyed a very congenial relationship because they held common goals of oppressing religious minorities, powering the very terrible segments of their society but also because India in the United States shared common diasporas in the Indian American community that lives in the United States and served as a potential voting block for Trump and Steve Bannon trying to reportedly start a right-wing media enterprise in India.
What is astounding to realize is the fact that India presented itself as a country where Sikh refugees from Afghanistan could find a home in which they are free from violence. But if the Indian state itself has resorted to violence and calling Sikh farmers who are only protesting for their lands as ‘terrorists’ how safe are our refugees from Afghanistan in India? In the example of one story of a Sikh Afghan refugee in India, Harpreet Kaur, she talks about the impact her husband’s murder had on her and how she struggles to adjust to India
Sikhs in the diaspora often have no choice but to rally outside the Consulate General of India in whichever country they are in. India did a lot of grandstanding when it came to accepting refugees but when they treat the Sikh community in the country as ‘other’ already what hope is there for the refugees who are being told they are safe in India?
What remains concerning to me is that President Biden does not support Sikhs in our fight against the farm bills and went so far as to have his admin praise the bills. Lawyers across the United States of South Asian heritage wrote to President Biden to push for greater support for the farmers.
What Does American Foreign Policy Look Like In the Post-Trump Era?
In a bid to pursue a more isolationist foreign policy, the United States for the past four years hadn’t remained as engaged in the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) and had not committed to working with international allies to take in more refugees, which was egregious considering Refugee Act of 1980 stipulates that per fiscal year, the United States is responsible to take in refugees who are fleeing persecution. With an administration so incredibly hostile and unwilling to take in refugees, there was considerable trouble with resettling Syrian refugees who were fleeing the civil war and were presented with even European countries who were seeing the rise of the far-right in response to the massive need to resettle refugees in their communities. Several Republican Governors (one of which was Nikki Haley) refused to resettle refugees in her state of South Carolina.
On his first day in office, President Biden set to work right away and had a stack of Executive Orders on rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, having Dr. Fauci lead the team of Public Health experts in connecting back with the World Health Organization, terminating the Key Stone XL Pipeline (about which Biden will be discussing with PM Trudeau of Canada in his first call with a foreign leader), signing sweeping executive orders on non-repayment of student loans until September 2021 and a national foreclosure and eviction moratorium.
Activists were hoping that there would be a complete cancellation of student loan debt. In recent years the student loan crisis has prevented younger people from hitting their life’s milestones but also being able to contribute back to the economy which they are unable to do it because of their student loan. Millennials and generation Z are hoping that the Biden administration listens to our generation and what we talk about when it comes to civil liberties, climate justice, student loans, marijuana legalization, duration of diplomatic relationships that we have long neglected because of the Trump administration’s failure to have affective representation on the international stage or take an interest in joining with countries tackle some of the most difficult issues that were facing in our modern day.
I am opposed to having to relive the past four years and have to write about that here, I will leave you with the hope that I am feeling for the future of this country. Taking the time to celebrate even though this is not the person that we had hoped to be in office, is a small price to pay considering what we were up against in Trump. With Bernie Sanders as Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, it’s only more important that we focus on the fight to bring working class families the relief they require to be able to fight back against COVID-19.
It is our hope that this new administration fights for the working class and the most marginalized. Democrats across the country gave Congress the mandate to legislate in their favor on the issues that we care about the most and the ones that are the most pressing.
Passing $2000 a month until this crisis is over is so crucial. Mandating the Defense Production Act, we can speed up the production of vaccines and deliver them to states who are experiencing the severe outbreaks of COVID-19. The Biden administration has a tall order to get working on, but at least we don’t have a president with a Twitter handle saying hateful things anymore and a Press Secretary who clearly knows what she’s doing and doesn’t resort to personally attacking reporters asking her questions that need to be answered
Amanda Gorman also had very valuable things to say as the youngest poet in the nations history at 22 years old:
New York State is also facing a very bad fiscal crisis. While we manage to avoid MTA fare hikes, we need to ensure that working class families are prioritized and that we come through for them and making sure that they have a government that is fighting for them and that we make the 1% pay their fair share in taxes. Through the invest in our New York campaign we are aiming to make sure that we can bring New Yorkers across the state together in the fight for a budget that prioritizes the working class, and taxes the rich who don’t pay taxes and definitely need to start paying their fair share. Please go to https://investinourny.org.
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