Sitting in my physics class, I watched Joe Biden give his inaugural address. As he stepped up to the podium, he faced a nation set on fire, kindled by the pandemic, racial injustice, climate change and other crises. From the very start, he made it known that his cure to all of these ails had one common theme: unity.
Witnessing the seeds of hatred sewn into America in the last four years and the manifestation of them just weeks prior, Biden made it clear that in order to address the nation’s problems, we first needed to “restore the soul of America.”
For the 21 minutes he spoke, I was put in a trance. In the moment, I was dreaming of Americans from both sides of the aisle reaching out to one another, singing Kumbaya. Perhaps the damage can be repaired, perhaps there is hope.
However, the last few weeks have certainly brought me back to the cold, harsh reality of Capitol Hill.
On February 4, the House of Representatives voted whether or not Republican congresswomen Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia would be able to keep her committee assignments.
Greene has been a supporter of QAnon for years and has pushed many other conspiracy theories. She believed that California wildfires were intentionally set by a Jewish space laser, claimed that 9/11 was a hoax and called the Parkland shooting a staged event. She has even threatened to assault prominent Democrats.
In 2018 and 2019, before running for Congress, she supported the assassinations of Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton. In an image posted on Facebook, she is shown holding an AR-15 next to Democratic congresswomen Illlhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlabib with text reading “Squad’s Worst Nightmare.”
Greene has spewed many racist and anti-Semtitic statements, yet she still found support among her Republican colleagues. Out of 210 Republicans, only 11 chose to side with Democrats to repeal Greene’s committee positions. Nearly 95% of Republicans found Greene’s conduct and behavior to be dismissable.
The Republican Party seems to be more concerned with party alignment than justice and morality. Are these the people that Democrats should unify with?
The vote on the $1.9 trillion dollar stimulus package on February 5 further explains why unity with Republican lawmakers is a fruitless endeavor for Democrats.
Despite being supported by nearly 70% of Americans, the stimulus relief bill barely passed in the Senate — the vote tallied 51-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.
Thankfully, President Biden seems ready to abandon Republican support on crucial policies, saying, “I have told both Republicans and Democrats that’s my preference: to work together. But if I have to choose between getting help right now to Americans who are hurting so badly and getting bogged down in a lengthy negotiation or compromising on a bill that’s up to the crisis, that’s an easy choice. I’m going to help the American people who are hurting now.”
In my physics class, one of the first things I was taught was Isaac Newton’s laws of motion — his third law stating that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Newton’s discovery made more than 300 years ago couldn’t be more pertinent today.
Despite all the damage done to America in the last four years, Biden has the tools necessary to start repairment.
Just a few weeks into office, the opposition proves to be an obstacle that can be avoided if Biden chooses to wield the full power of his presidency. Be it through signing executive orders or pushing legislation through the House and Senate, Biden must act what’s best for America, in the name of bipartisanship or not.