We found out today, November 7, 2020, that Former Vice President Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States.
I am glad that Biden won. While his record is not perfect (far from it), I believed that out of all of the candidates for this position, he was the one most capable of leading the country justly through these difficult times. While I know I have written on here about issues with Biden’s past record, I do wish that his presidency is a successful one. To take from the words George H.W. Bush wrote to Bill Clinton upon Clinton becoming President, his success is now our country’s success.
I also know there is a strong possibility of Republicans holding on to the United States Senate. If that is indeed the case (depending on how the runoff elections in Georgia go), I recognize that I will need to be realistic with what Biden is able to address, given the partisan environment with American politics at the moment. But, I shouldn’t get too ahead of myself either, as there will be two runoff elections in Georgia to help determine control of the Senate.
Election results aside, I think that there are a few thank yous that a lot of us, myself included, owe in light of the election that recently happened.
First and foremost, thank you to we, the American people, for turning out in such high numbers! Reports seem to be indicating that the turnout for this election is the highest it has been in generations. Hopefully, this level of engagement with our elections will continue well beyond 2020.
A thank you must also go to people who’ve worked the polls and counted the ballots. Without the work of these people, it would not be possible to have an election.
I thank those involved in overseeing the operations of this election. Many Secretaries of State (regardless of political affiliation) as well as local Boards of Elections have operated this election, in the middle of a pandemic, about as smoothly as one could reasonably expect. Furthermore, in light of baseless claims of election fraud from President Trump, many involved in overseeing this election have gone to great pains to be transparent about the election process (even to the point of doing things like having livestreams of places where votes are being counted). I hope this transparency will increase the faith some of us have in American democracy—a faith that seemed to be on shaky ground heading into this election.
My final thank you goes to all of the people outside the United States who have expressed thoughts for, and in the case of people of faith, prayers for, us as we go through this election. These have been tense times, so I appreciate the thoughts, well-wishes, and prayers.
Speaking of thoughts and prayers, I will end this post by requesting that people hope for (and, if you’re the praying type, pray for) a smooth transition of power from President Trump to President-elect Biden. I am sadly not confident that the transition will be smooth or that Trump will even accept the fact he lost this election, but given the challenges this country currently faces, a smooth transition of power is desperately needed.
Author’s Note: I am aware that the Trump campaign has made numerous legal challenges regarding the election results. I am also aware that Trump himself has not conceded as of the time of my writing this. However, what I hear from legal experts (which I am not) is that the legal challenges from the Trump campaign are highly unlikely to change the result of this election (even if said challenges succeed, and the overwhelming majority of challenges are not succeeding from what I hear).
Second Author’s Note: I will not publish a post next week as Veterans Day is next week.
Third Author’s Note: This post was written recently, so I apologize for any typos that may appear here.
 Currently, Democrats have 48 seats (a tally that includes two independents who caucus with the Democrats). The elections for both United States Senate races in Georgia are going to a runoff. If Democrats win both races, their 50 seats will be enough to control the Senate because Vice President Kamala Harris serves as the tiebreaking vote.
Back in February, I said that on my blog, I would publish posts on major issues relevant to the election that are either misunderstood or not talked about as much as they should be.
By working on such posts, I found myself getting some insights into the upcoming election for President of the United States that I would otherwise not have. Because of those insights, as well as the fact that my blog talks about injustices that need to be addressed, I thought I would end these posts by talking about who I will vote for and why.
I’m voting for Joe Biden because, of all the candidates in the race, I think he gives the best shot at playing a role in addressing injustices. His past track record, while imperfect, gives me that belief.
On the issue of ableism and disability justice, Biden cosponsored some important legislation on this issue. He was a Senate cosponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was landmark legislation for people with disabilities. Earlier in his Senate career, he cosponsored the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which required equal educational access in all public schools for kids with physical and mental disabilities. While there is still much to do to make all corners of our country as accessible as they need to be, the passage of these laws, which was made a bit easier by Biden’s support and cosponsorship in both cases, was nevertheless useful. His support of such legislation gives me hope that with disability rights issues, he would reject the argument that something is “too expensive” or “too impractical” to be made accessible—arguments I often hear against making certain things accessible.
Those who are familiar with human trafficking issues would know that arguably the most important piece of American legislation when it comes to anti-human trafficking laws is the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA)—without its existence, traffickers couldn’t be prosecuted as easily, and victims wouldn’t be protected as easily. The person who introduced the reauthorization of the Act in the Senate in 2008 was…Joe Biden. As someone who used to help with anti-human trafficking education myself, I think it’s important for me to set the record straight on this issue because it has only come up in this election in the context of a sex trafficking conspiracy theory (one that Trump has praised the supporters of) that has complicated the work of organizations that are trying to combat human trafficking.
Speaking of Biden authoring things, while his authorship of the 1994 Crime Bill was controversial in many ways, one major positive of that overarching bill was the Violence Against Women Act, which among other things helped establish a Domestic Violence Hotline. A hotline that has come of great use during the pandemic exists in large part due to Biden’s efforts.
On environmental issues, Biden, while not perfect, is still eons better than Trump. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has a scorecard that grades politicians based on which environmental measures they do or do not support, as well as which environmental regulatory rollbacks they do and do not support. Biden’s lifetime score is 83%, which is not as good as the 91% held by Bernie Sanders or the 96% held by Elizabeth Warren. But, his main opponent is Trump, who in LCV’s own words, said about Trump’s environmental grade in his first year in office that: “However, to simply award Trump an ‘F’ does not come close to capturing both the breadth and depth of his administration’s assault on environmental protections and the harm it is causing communities across the country – all to provide favors to the wealthiest corporate polluting interests.”
These are some of the positive things on Joe Biden’s record, and I’m not even coming close to mentioning all the positive things (just a few that should be highlighted). However, as I said, his record is not perfect. I mentioned his Crime Bill on my blog, which is part of a larger dubious record he has when it comes to racial justice issues; there’s also the fact that he supported restrictions that prevented openly gay individuals from serving in the military, supported the Defense of Marriage Act (restricting marriage so that it’s between one man and one woman), and poorly handled the Anita Hill hearing, to name a few of the more problematic parts of his record. A charitable view of Biden’s record is that when someone is in public service for nearly five decades, there are bound to be some major mistakes within that record. A less charitable view would look at his record as evidence of his being a person who would add to injustices, instead of resolving them.
I tend to take a line down the middle—yes, he’s been in public service for a long time, but he does have some injustices to answer to. He has answered by expressing regret for how he handled the Anita Hill situation as well as for past anti-LGBTQ+ positions and the Crime Bill.
More cynical individuals may think that such expressions of regret are just for political expediency and/or are woefully inadequate; I most certainly understand the cynicism because politics can be so cynical at times. However, unlike President Trump, Biden has demonstrated the capacity to not just apologize but back it up with actions to show that he has learned from past mistakes. Of note was the fact that not only did he end up regretting his past positions that were unsupportive of LGBTQ+ rights, but he backed it up by: a) supporting same-sex marriage and b) forcing President Obama’s hand on support of same-sex marriage (by the admission of Obama administration officials). On a number of issues, but particularly racial justice, I sincerely hope that Biden demonstrates a similar capacity to back up his remorse for certain past stances of his (such as authoring the Crime Bill) with action (such as trying to find solutions to the issue of mass incarceration against people of color that many believe he helped create).
Even with the positives I found with Biden, some may be wondering why I’m not suggesting voting for a third party or not voting at all. Especially since I live in New York, some might argue that I could do either without having an impact on the election.
The answer is that I am voting third party, as I will be voting for Biden on the Working Families Party line (a third party that exists in some states, including New York). I think that it is important for me to vote for Biden and I think it is important for third parties to have a voice as well—by voting for Biden on the Working Families Party line, it’s the best of both worlds as far as I am concerned.
I also never considered not voting. I never considered that for two reasons: first, because I was able to distinguish key differences between Trump and Biden on issues that matter to me; and second, because I want my voice to be heard on local elections too (even though all my seats locally are heavily Democratic overall).
So there’s my breakdown of how I judged between the two major party candidates, and how I decided to vote for Biden. While I’m not as enthusiastic about Biden as some people are, I’ve concluded that it’s the best choice out of all the choices presented to me in this election from the standpoint of addressing injustices. And, given the fact that Biden seems more willing than Trump to follow the science when it comes to COVID, it’s a choice that I hope will save some lives.
I will be interested to hear others’ thoughts on the election, though! Feel free to comment below.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this post are my opinions alone and does not represent an endorsement by any organization with which I am associated.
 I know many people have already voted. But this post is directed at those who have not already voted (or those who have but are curious to hear what I have to say).
 I am focusing on his past track record because I think looking at a track record of nearly five decades can be instructive in determining what sorts of issues he may stand for in the next 4-8 years—potentially even more instructive than looking at his platform.
 I am not going to use tons of space in this post talking about Trump. There are lots of posts on the internet talking about Trump’s negatives. Instead, I’m going to use space here to talk about some positive elements of Biden’s record, because it’s important not just to vote against someone, but for someone.
Let me start by saying that I apologize for the delay in getting this post to you all! I had some evening work to do, and then there were some other things I needed to do after my work was done for the evening. Better late than never, I guess!
Even now, nobody in my family has gotten any coronavirus symptoms. I’ve said this before and I will say it again–I am really wondering whether we’ve had this before without realizing and we have immunity built up, or whether we had coronavirus and were asymptomatic, or what. All of us in my household at this point (myself, my brother, and my parents) personally know multiple people who’ve fallen ill from the coronavirus, and all of us know of people (friends of friends, at minimum) who have died from the coronavirus.
Speaking of deaths, it appears that deaths have flatlined, but they have flatlined at a horrible rate. Each day in the last week (maybe longer), New York’s Governor Cuomo has reported somewhere between 600 and 800 deaths per day. One death is a death too many, but 600-800 deaths per day is just an incomprehensible level of tragedy and grief. I sincerely hope that these numbers go down quickly, and go down soon. I also hope that whenever we do reopen my city, my state, my country, that we don’t do so in a way that results in our ending up with this level of loss of life again, because honestly, it’s too much loss.
On the topic of death (and sorry if this is too much talk of death for some people), I do want to address something that President Trump suggested: that the number of deaths due to the coronavirus in New York City is inflated. The issue at-hand is that New York City recently reported an additional 3,700 or so “probable” deaths from the coronavirus (surging the number of deaths from the coronavirus in New York City past 10,000). These probable deaths are cases where the coronavirus or something similar to the coronavirus is listed on the death certificate as the cause of death, but the dead person never officially got tested for the coronavirus. These are deaths that could probably be attributed to the coronavirus, hence probable deaths.
I know today wasn’t the most fun or hopeful of posts, but I hope my readers are doing okay, and that you all are staying healthy!
A couple weeks ago, some people criticized United States President Donald Trump for trying to get the United States back to work, which would have defied what public health experts were (and still are) recommending about practices such as social isolation. Some friends and media have expressed shock at the president’s attitude toward the coronavirus, even dubbing it as a “wealth over health” type of attitude.
While I was angered and dismayed that Trump took such a dangerous attitude toward the coronavirus, I also recognize that attitudes similar to Trump’s, attitudes about prioritizing wealth and/or other results over health, is painfully common in society.
I’ve heard horror stories of people in numerous industries feeling that they have to sacrifice their health in favor of the bottom line. Some of my friends and acquaintances in the financial sector have told me stories of how they are expected to stay up late doing work, and then get up at ungodly hours of the morning to see how stock markets open in the Far East or in Europe. I have friends in government tell me about working 16-hour days, often at the sacrifice of self-care (both physically and mentally). I have friends in the nonprofit sector tell me about the work (as rewarding as it may be in certain cases) being so draining that it’s harmful to their physical and mental health. I’ve had friends in the business world who’ve encountered bosses who would work their employees until they are beyond ragged, all in the name of making every last dollar possible.
In summary, prioritizing wealth over health (whatever “wealth” may be, whether that’s money or certain other results) is not just a Trump thing. It’s an issue in many parts of American society, and Trump is only the most famous representative of the wealth-over-health attitude that exists in so many places.
So, if you think Trump’s attitude about the coronavirus was dangerous (I, for one, thought it was), don’t just get angry at Trump. Look at so many of the people around us, and as you look around, see whether some of those people have a Trump-like attitude about work. You might be surprised—a Trump-like attitude about wealth over personal health is a lot more common than many of us realize.
 I’ve generally been lucky to have bosses who didn’t ask me to prioritize wealth over health. I am grateful for that. I know some who are not so lucky.
Last week, it was announced that the Trump administration
would have a new regulation, called a “public charge rule,” where (from my
understanding) someone applying for admission to the United States or someone
who is looking for a change in residency status could be denied their request
if they are deemed as likely to be a “public charge” in the future. In
other words, if the applicant is deemed to be likely to need some public
benefit in the future, such as food stamps, then their application would be
denied under the new guidelines.
Critics of the law have deemed this law anti-legal
immigration, and those critics are right. Some critics have also deemed that
this is anti-poor people, and they are right. However, there is one big word
that must be used to describe this rule, a word I don’t seem to hear at all.
That word is classist. Yep, this policy is classist,
and blatantly so.
Classism is “prejudice and discrimination based on
according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Class is “a group
sharing the same economic or social status.”
Therefore, a set of guidelines that punishes people for being poor is classist.
A rule that keeps people from obtaining green cards or U.S. citizenship because
they are deemed as poor enough that they are likely to need Medicaid in the
future, which is what these guidelines do, is classist. A rule is classist when
it is defended by a Trump administration official by saying, “Give me your
tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become
a public charge.”
The rule is classist, and the defense of the rule is also classist.
And yet, it seems like few people, Republicans, Democrats,
or people outside the political system, have actually gone as far as to say
that it is classist or even mention the word classism. As I’m writing this, I
did a Google Search for “classism Trump administration” within the last 24
hours (I wrote this about 24 hours after the rule was announced) and only found
five pages of search results. It’s as if classism itself is not really on the
radars of that many people.
Given the fact that the Trump administration’s recent action,
it’s time to put classism on the radar, learn about it, and call it out for
what it is. Republican and Democratic leaders may be hesitant to call out
classism, let alone call it out for what it is, but that should not keep us
from being frank about classism and classist policies.