By Lucca Stanger
What should we make of the sparsely populated inauguration stage? Many took the opportunity to crack open a bottle of champagne or simply marvel at the historical significance of the event. And I would certainly be remiss if I did not mention we swore in the first female vice president, the first Asian vice president, and the first African American vice president. However it’s important not to lose sight of a number of key things. Firstly, I would emphasize the need to reflect on why the past four years have given cause for some to celebrate. Which elements of Trump’s term were so divisive that some took Wednesday as an opportunity to rejoice? The second thing I’d stress is the importance of the quest for unity. It’s beyond cliché but still deserves attention. Although it might be tempting to ask ourselves what we can do to “unify the country” the far more important question that has yet to be answered in any substantial way is: who voted for Trump? and more importantly why? There is plenty of interesting material on this topic that I would point you to. J.D Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is an incredibly insightful point of contact. Another interesting listen is Steve Bannon’s speech at the Western Petroleum Conference (can be found on Youtube); as the architect of the Trump movement Bannon’s insight is important however be careful not to lose sight of his biased position. Unity can only be achieved once we grasp why a significant portion of the population took it upon themselves to shift the overton window so drastically that we are struggling for answers. The last, and in some ways the most important, thing I will stress as a takeaway from Wednesday’s events is the obligation to stay diligent. For some Biden might be a step in the right direction but it is important to remember he is not the solution nor has he actually fully taken that step. It’s important we continue to fulfill our role as the accountability mechanism that democracy is built upon.