If literally nothing else, the last four years have given us the luxury of basically never having to dig very deeply into the news or do much research.
What I mean by that is this: the presidency of Donald Trump was many, many things, and one of the things it was the most was loud. Most presidents give a charming smile, an uplifting speech to the public, and then do most of their dirty work behind closed doors where the truth would never see the light of day.
Trump would do his dirty work behind closed doors too, of course, it’s just that when he was done, he’d turn around and tweet about it — and then make some bizarre speech where he’d say something explicitly hateful and hug the American flag (will we ever discuss why he did that?).
To put it simply, Trump’s presidency was the political equivalent of a bull in a china shop. Nothing about it was subtle, and you really couldn’t miss what was going on if you tried. He was so openly volatile that being able to say, “Yeah he’s really not doing a great job,” wasn’t a difficult statement to confidently make. And while nothing else about his single term was easy, being in the loop politically, without having to do very much, was a luxury. One that we are going to very quickly have to learn to live without.
You might have noticed a deafening silence that could be heard around the country on Jan. 20, 2021, the day that Joseph R. Biden Jr. was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States.
While many of us were so quick to comment how nice it felt to not wake up to any headlines or morbid tweets that would make our eyes pop out of their sockets, there’s something quite eerie about that silence as well. Biden is a career politician. He’s been at this game far longer than some voters have even been alive. He knows exactly what he’s doing — by means of painting a pretty picture to cover up the damage he is doing behind the scenes — and that is something we should all be afraid of.
It has never not been important to read the news and stay up to date with current events. But now more than ever, people in the United States — especially our younger generation, who came into politics in a time of mass chaos — need to take personal responsibility for checking our political leaders by staying informed.
It’s a much bigger job. We will need to research policy, we will have to learn where we stand on certain issues. While Biden may seem like a fresh spring breeze after a very cold, four-year winter, it is because he knows how to wear the mask that all politicians wear to get your vote before passing laws under the table to make your life much more difficult.
I’m not saying we need to create a mob that runs at the people in power with pitchforks and torches on account of our distrust, but we mustn’t allow ourselves to get so comfortable that we become willfully ignorant to the things that are going on around us. Biden may not be on the same level as Donald Trump in terms of hate and violence; however, nothing is stopping him from being just as self-serving, should we fail to keep up with all of his actions, not just the ones he chooses to speak proudly on.
Follow reputable news outlets on social media, subscribe to the weekly reports that independent publications put out, listen to podcasts; do whatever makes you feel comfortably in-the-know, just do not take your eyes off of the people who are meant to be serving you.
Ali Kochik is a third-year English writings major with minors in Journalism and Women’s and Gender Studies. AK908461@WCUPA.EDU