What Morgan Students Expect From President Joe Biden


Biden signs executive orders at the start of his presidency. Image via ABC Chicago

On January 20th, President Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. The election process that seemed to last for decades and an election fraud conspiracy are now behind us as we officially enter a Biden Administration. On day one, the President got to work, signing a total of 17 executive orders to be set in place, based on promises the Biden-Harris administration made on the campaign trail. President Biden additionally undid many of President Trump’s signature policies on the 20th, signalling the official transfer of presidents in the democratic process and the temporary effect of a president’s power. A new administration means new policies and goals, along with carrying out the responsibilities and issues of past presidencies. Our country is expecting the fulfillment of the guarantees made by both Biden and Harris during the election, and Morgan students have high expectations for the new President and Vice President to carry out what they assured they would.

President Joe Biden repeating the inaugural oath of office with First Lady Jill Biden. Image via Hollywood Reporter

On the critical issue of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, President Biden cancelled former President Trump’s May withdrawal from the World Health Organization, and also appointed the government’s top infectious-diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, to lead the U.S. delegation to the WHO, according to CNN. Biden also has imposed a mask mandate on all federally owned property and federal employees. He issued a 100 Days Masking Challenge for all Americans, and used an executive order to forge a new position, COVID-19 Response Coordinator, to oversee the government’s response to the pandemic and to manage vaccine distribution along with personal protective equipment. These measures drastically juxtaposed those of President Trump, who repeatedly downplayed the severity of the Coronavirus. Senior Abby Gordon states that she is curious to see what the new presidency accomplishes with the new information and understanding of the virus. Senior Kaylene Koelle, “hopes he can put this plan in action as soon as he can to stop the craziness that keeps coming.” Americans are hopeful that these stricter policies and an increase in vaccine distribution will result in a decrease in case numbers in these upcoming months, so life can return to normal.

Senior Abby Gordon

Some of the biggest achievements President Biden made on his first day were highlighted around the environment. He rejoined the Paris Climate Accord after President Trump withdrew in 2017, with baseless claims that the accord, created in 2015, would lose the United States money and jobs, and would have a ‘tiny’ effect on the world’s global temperatures. Senior Sarah Gaetano was excited to know he was planning on rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, and she hopes he becomes involved in the United Nations and their environmental initiatives around the world. Biden also revoked the Presidential permit for the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, given out by President Trump. This pipeline not only was going to be built over sacred native land, but would harm many ecosystems and local species. In addition, Biden directed the Department of the Interior to review the boundaries and conditions of areas like the Northeast Canyons, and he placed a moratorium on all oil and gas activity at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. On his first day as president, President Biden ordered all executive departments to review their actions over the past four years and revise those that go against Biden’s goals of committing to environmental justice. This would mean undoing the previous administration’s rollbacks on clean air and water protection that disproportionately affect low-income communities. For a lot of young people, taking action with the environment is crucially important for their future. Junior Jessie Flanagan is hopeful for environmental policy in the next four years, and she is expecting to see “Biden take strides in addressing carbon emissions and slowing the impacts of climate change.”

Joe Biden has a plan to reform the United States criminal justice system to “build safe and healthy communities” and help incarcerated individuals “successfully rejoin society after they serve their time.” Because he understands a large portion of the people in jail are for marijuana use or sale, he discloses on his website, “he will decriminalize cannabis use and automatically expunge prior convictions.” For people in jail for drug abuse alone, he wants to “require federal courts to divert these individuals to drug courts, so they receive treatment to address their substance use disorder.” To address the divide between law enforcement and people of color the Biden Justice Department will, “use its authority to root out unconstitutional or unlawful policing.” They will take action to prosecute police officers that display racist actions. Senior Ray Bajwa’s priority is criminal justice. He hopes that, “Biden will go through with ending the federal death penalty” and address “the mass incarceration system with the war on drugs and the legalization of marijuana.” With the promises made on the Biden campaign trail, it is likely Ray’s hopes will be fulfilled.
As Americans, we have seen a major fracture in our nation. Throughout his campaign, Biden has pushed for unity to bridge our divide and to be a president “For all Americans.” This theme was repeated in his Inaugural Address where he stated, “We can see each other not as adversaries, but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces to stop the shouting and lower the temperature.” Senior Josh Bardinelli shares this desire, and he hopes Biden does something to “bring people together instead of pushing them apart like we have seen in the last few years.” As we enter into a new presidential era, pushing for a political climate that accepts differences of opinion and works to advocate for the needs of every American is even more essential. Biden’s actions thus far have emphasized unity over division, which can be observed in his reversal of Trump’s Muslim Ban and US-Mexico Border wall construction, or with his overturning of the former president’s ban of transgender Americans joining military service.

The Biden- Harris administration has so far been honest in honoring the commitments they made to voters, but must continue in that direction to ensure the most pivotal issues of this generation are addressed for the better of our nation. The Morgan School’s students and young people everywhere have hopes that their futures will not drastically be uprooted by this new administration, but rather have their paths paved out for them by politicians who work tirelessly for the success of their citizens.