On January 20th, for better or worse, Democrat Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. This has been met with cries of both joy and rage depending on your political inclinations. Regardless of where you stand on the matter, the last four years of distrust and discontent between fellow citizens bred one positive trait; one that we must keep alive under Biden.
That is the culture of political scrutiny. Progressively with each president, since Bush Jr at least, the American population has been more and more active in looking for the errors and faults of their leaders. While this usually is curbed by the ideological tribalism of “Us vs. Them” and other such bullshit, many have held their ground regardless of who’s taken the reigns. The fear many on both sides of the prevalent political debates have is that the average voter will return to apathy with Biden’s return to the status quo of the Obama years.
AOC and others have started highlighting the idea of “Brunch Democrats,” the more centrist and less invested supporters of the Democrats who will step back out of the political conversation now that Trump has been removed. Many on the left have been actively calling to keep the pressure on Biden to push through things like the Green New Deal, or Medicare For All, while the “Brunch Democrats” have been chastising those activists, saying to “give Biden a break”.
The term “Brunch Democrat”, believed to have been popularized during the 2016 election, denotes those Democrats that have either the wealth or social position that they survive and thrive under the status quo. They aren’t people who care about escalations in the Middle East, nor do they care about social issues beyond their “thoughts and prayers” approach to support. It is the privileged position of the centrist establishment liberal; that the only government harms that matter, are the ones that affect them personally.
This phenomenon has already begun to rear its ugly head in the 6 days after inauguration. President Biden has walked back several campaign promises in the first few days of his presidency. Questionable cabinet appointments, State department picks that are setting up for new wars in the Middle East, and executive orders on immigration that don’t actually help anyone; all of these are being excused, and even lauded by those who would have lambasted the Trump administration for the same actions.
Specific policies aside, there is a key message here. We cannot allow politicians to get a pass solely because they are on “our side.” The status quo has been a failure for the majority of our citizens, and especially the disadvantaged. The fight for freedom doesn’t end because of who was elected. The fight to alleviate the social ills that befall our fellow humans doesn’t end because your team won. We’ve gone back and forth between Democrats and Republicans for decades and all it has done is lead us here.
When we ask when we need to act, the answer is always right now. It is, and always will be important to hold firm on what we stand for and what we believe in and fight for it through direct and political action. Do not go back to your quiet lives and regularly scheduled brunches now that Trump’s term is finished.
While people may differ in approach, we all want to see a better world for each other. That is something we can constantly work on, and need to, regardless of which letter rests beside the President’s name. Do not allow Biden to get away with any of the bullshit you’d criticize others for. Do not pretend that everything will magically sort itself out and we can return to the regularly scheduled program. Take the opportunity to keep the pressure on, and push for the changes you believe in.