We need to settle for Biden

Biden was not my first choice, but he is the best choice

Courtesy+of+Joe+Biden%27s+official+Facebook+page%0A

Courtesy of Joe Biden’s official Facebook page

By Emma Garber, Assistant Op/Ed Editor

Last February, I wrote a scathing critique of former Vice President Joe Biden. I cited his questionable track record, lack of progressive policies and somewhat outdated persona as reasons not to vote for him. Biden was not my first choice for the Democratic candidate. He wasn’t my second choice, either. Honestly, he wasn’t even my third or fourth. But with less than a month from election day, I am proudly voting for Biden.

To clarify, progressive criticism of the Democratic candidate is valid. Joined by his running mate Kamala Harris, the Democratic ticket is represented by typical establishment Democrats. Their policies are moderate, as they both tend to take safely centrist stances on most issues. Biden comes with his fair share of controversy, including sexual assault allegations and his treatment of Anita Hill during Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991. Likewise, as district attorney and attorney general in California, Harris disproportionately hurt communities of color and put countless Californians in prison.

Although I did not support Biden in the primaries for these reasons, I recognize that we are now voting for our nation’s heart and soul. Biden and Harris may be more moderate than young progressives wanted, but they are running on the most progressive platform in our nation’s history. They are far from perfect, but they are by far the best option. Biden is clearly the more prepared to lead the nation to fight for the most pertinent issues facing our country right now.

Our nation has been plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic since March, and with numbers on the rise, a return to normalcy any time soon seems unlikely. Rather than embrace scientific and medical guidance, President Trump has politicized the pandemic and denied the virus’ legitimacy. The magnitude of this pandemic could have been avoided had the president taken its threat seriously in March. Instead, more than 200,000 Americans have died from coronavirus and more than 7.1 million have tested positive, including the president himself. Of the two candidates, Biden is more equipped to handle this ongoing crisis. He plans to “mount an effective crisis response and elevate the voices of scientists, public health experts, and first responders.” Biden will listen to scientists and take the necessary measures to lead us out of this crisis.

Following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, our nation ignited in conversation and protest surrounding deeply rooted racial injustices. In February, I noted that Biden’s opposition to desegregation in the 1970s raised questions about his political history concerning race. This is legitimate criticism that we cannot forget. However, during the first presidential debate, the president refused to condemn white supremacy three times. In 2017, following the Charlottesville riots, President Trump said that there were “very fine people, on both sides” after white supremacists injured many and killed one woman. On June 1, 2020, he tear-gassed peaceful protestors outside the White House for a bible-bearing photo op. President Trump gives racists a free pass and villainizes those seeking racial justice. In a time when the American people must come together, President Trump further divides us. We need a leader who will condemn racism and seek to unite us. Once again, Biden is the correct choice.

Some progressives, bound to their moral and political principles, are electing not to vote. I understand that the Biden-Harris ticket is a difficult pill for many to swallow. The 2020 and 2016 elections highlight major flaws in our political system; the extremely partisan two-party system has repeatedly left voters choosing the lesser of two evils. It’s easy to believe our individual votes don’t matter, but not voting will not solve anything. In fact, not voting could have detrimental effects on the election’s outcome. Voting is the strongest political power we hold as American citizens. It’s a right many fought long and hard for; do not take this right for granted. We must use our voices and choose the candidate that best aligns with our values.

I’ll summarize with an analogy I saw floating around the internet this summer: “voting isn’t marriage, it’s public transport.” To young progressives, voting for Joe Biden is not tying yourself to his moderate policies. Instead, it’s getting on the bus that will get you closer to where you want to go. Joe Biden was not my favorite Democratic candidate, but I want a better future for this country. I’m getting on the Biden bus and voting for a better tomorrow.

Emma Garber can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @EmmaGarber1.