2021 Political Wrap Up


Photo by Ted Eytan from Creative Commons

As 2020 was filled with political tension, America continues to fight for political change.

As we are almost two full months into 2021, one thing we did not leave in 2020 was crazy politics. Let us do a quick recap of the political news you may have missed in the first two months of 2021:

Within the first week of the new year, the United States saw something that it has not seen since 1812, an attack on the U.S. Capitol. A large group of former president, Donald Trump’s, supporters and loyalists gathered outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to protest against the results of the 2020 election. Violence soon erupted when some people began attacking officers and trampling barriers in front of the Capitol as Congress was inside starting to begin it’s joint session. The crowd then began to breach the east and west side of the building soon making it all the way inside, forcing the Senate and the House to call a recess. After three hours, much violence, 5 dead and over 140 people injured, the Capitol building was declared secure.

With thousands of people posting, streaming and sharing images from the insurrection, outrage and fear was sparked all across the country. The House of Representatives was quick to impeach Trump for a second time, breaking history as the first president to be impeached twice. They charged him with inciting the insurrection at the capitol on Feb. 9, but he was eventually acquitted on Feb. 13.

Another historic phenomenon that came out of this was Trump’s media ban. Social media websites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Snapchat, Reddit and Twitch either banned or restricted Trump from using the websites as a precaution to the possibility there could be another incitement of violence.

The country, still trying to process and heal from what happened only a few weeks prior, celebrated the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, on Jan. 20. We also saw the first female, African American, Asian American, Kamala Harris, get sworn in as Vice President. The celebration included performances from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Garth Brooks, Katy Perry and John Legend, as well as an original poem delivered by Amanda Gorman, who is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history.

At the time of writing this, it has almost been a month since Biden was sworn into Office, and he has already begun to make some drastic changes.

President Biden has, compared to the past three administrations, made his Cabinet the most diverse in U.S. history to better represent the population of the United States. He has picked the most women, the most nonwhite members and the most people with the higher levels of government experience compared to both Trump and Obama. His picks for his Cabinet have nearly 55% nonwhite members and 45% female members. While some members still need to be confirmed by the Senate, if they are, this could be a big thing for the diversity seen in the country’s government.

In more uplifting news, Biden’s administration has also redecorated the Oval Office.  A painting of Andrew Jackson, the president known for signing the infamous Indian Removal Act, was removed and replaced with a painting of Ben Franklin. Some busts of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez were also added.

As for the new president’s handling of Covid-19, Biden has said that the position of Covid-19 Response Coordinator will be filled and responsible for directly reporting to him and in charge of the handling of the vaccine. Biden has also created something called the “100 Day Mask Challenge” which encourages Americans to wear a mask for 100 days as well as making an executive order that social distancing and mask wearing must be done in federal buildings and on federal land.

There have also been 3 executive orders made by Biden that deal with the U.S.-Mexico border, immigration, and reuniting families. He is trying to make it easier for immigrants to get permanent residency in the United States as well as creating a task force whose job would be to reunite families that were separated at the border. The President has made moves to help protect the DACA program offering permanent protection for the “Dreamers” and reversed the travel ban previosuly put in place by Trump that restricted entry into the United States from multiple Muslim-majority and African countries. Construction on the border wall has also been stopped by an executive order that ended the wall’s funding.

As for the issue of student loans, Biden has lengthened the pause on student loan payments and interest. This applies to any American who has federal loans until at least Sept. 30. There is still debate on how student loans will be handled and how much debt forgiveness there will be.

An executive order has also made it so employers can not legally discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace. This allows thousands of Americans to be able to earn a living without being fired, demoted or mistreated simply because of how they look or who they chose to love.

Finally, Biden has reentered the United States into the Paris Agreement which is an international treaty made on the basis of climate change, and he also plans on reversing over 100 of Trump’s executive actions surrounding the environment.

In just the first month of his administration, Biden has made some big alterations to Trump’s America. From new ways of confronting the pandemic to creating new opportunities for immigrants, I think we are all anxious and excited to see how the next 4 years of President Biden’s America plays out.