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Credit: Son Nguyen , Son Nguyen

After a burdensome four years, our country has finally received the opportunity to heal. When the results of the election were finalized, there was a sudden lightness in the air. What seemed like a bad nightmare was finally over. We were experiencing the rainbow after the rain, with an outpour of celebration in major US cities. However; I didn’t feel excited when I heard the results. In this particular election, I wasn’t thrilled. To prove its perceived lack of seriousness, even Kanye West decided to take a shot at the presidency. It seemed like a repeat of the Donald Trump — Hillary Clinton dichotomy. Once again, I was tasked with choosing ‘’the lesser of two evils.’’

I’ve recognized that although Joe Biden and Kamala Harris weren’t my ideal choices, it’s time for the American people to unite ourselves behind their pairing and administration. Over the last four years, our country has faced dire circumstances. The latest of these is the current COVID-19 pandemic, which Trump tactlessly referred to as the ‘’Chinese Virus.'' He’s released executive orders that have placed immigrant children in cages, denied the existence of global warming, and referred to Haiti and African nations as ‘’shitholes.’’ He’s openly criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and implicitly promoted racial hatred through his ‘’Make America Great Again,’’ or MAGA tagline. Mary Trump, his own niece, has labeled him a narcissist.

The American people are fed up. While Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have their faults, there are pros to a Biden-Harris administration. Through backing their administration, we can anticipate the furthering of gender equality, amelioration of the racial tensions instigated by Trump’s administration, and the appointment of other Democratic superstars to prominent cabinet positions necessary to implement progressive ideas and policies. 

Kamala Harris is controversial. Known for her racially insensitive sentencings as a California district attorney, she has a lot to prove. She joined forces with the candidate whose support of segregation she openly harangued. I was initially skeptical of her silver-tongued performance and questioned her authenticity. She talked a good game, but her political record proved otherwise. However, at the end of the election, hearing that there would be a Black and Asian female vice president, who is also an HBCU graduate, changed my sentiments. I shifted from a place of skepticism into hope and faith in her evolution. Kamala’s father is Jamaican, and as a Jamaican-American myself, she embodies the strength of the Jamaican women I admire. I’ve recognized that I am her and that she is me, and while I questioned her sincerity, now is the time when she needs my support. She is breaking barriers for women, and as a woman who will soon enter the workforce, her achievements will pave the way for my own.

Joe Biden isn’t the most tactful when it comes to discussing racial issues. Whether it’s by saying that ‘’Poor kids are just as smart as white kids,’’ or that people aren’t Black if they don’t vote for him, he’s had his share of political faux pas. Some say he isn’t liberal enough and questioned his moderate approach. He’s associated with tough on crime legislation and support for segregationist polices. He worked against the integration of U.S public schools, a feat that was integral to our societal progress. But Joe, like many politicians of his generation, has evolved. He served as our country’s vice president in a revolutionary administration headed by our first Black president. After he was announced as the next US president, I saw a news clip where he relayed the names of those lost to racial genocide. Hearing him shout ‘’Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor,’’ almost made my eyes water. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a president or president-elect sensibly and openly discuss matters of violence. I hope that his joining with Kamala will serve to unite a nation divided by racial unrest. 

This election season, the Democrats didn’t have a clear front-runner but a group of budding superstars. I admire each of the major candidates for different reasons. I’m a fan of Andrew Yang and love his book Smart People Should Build Things. I fiercely admire his belief in entrepreneurship and building the economies in America’s most disadvantaged cities such as Detroit and New Orleans. The universal basic income is rendered impractical by some but serves as evidence of the ingenuity and forward-thinking we need to improve our economic standing. Elizabeth Warren is onto something with her universal childcare policies, and Bernie Sanders is a much-needed leader in the fight against student loan debt. I envision the Democrats joining together like the Avengers, a group that can function apart, but is stronger when working in tandem. 

Although I couldn’t vote in 2008 and 2012, I fiercely recall the energy that graced the Obama campaigns. Since the end of his second presidential term, no political candidate has matched his charisma and undying optimism for the American people. From his ‘’Yes We Can" days; he gave the American people a brighter future — A Promised Land to hope for. He left a legacy that’s hard to rival. While I didn’t have a favorite candidate, we now have an executive team with great potential. I’ve begun to trust that together they’ll possess the strength to lead our nation in the right direction. 

SURAYYA WALTERS is a Wharton junior from New Rochelle, N.Y. concentrating in Marketing and minoring in Urban Education. Her email address is surayyaw@wharton.upenn.edu.

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