By Queen Irving, Writer
On November 7, 2020 the presidential election race was finally called after four exhausting days. Vice President Joe Biden took the win with a total of 306 electoral votes, including votes from the Republican leading swing states Nevada and Georgia, while Incumbent President Donald Trump lost with 232 electoral votes. Biden, the Democratic candidate won the popular vote with roughly 75 million votes, 5 million ahead of Trump, his Republican opponent who won about 70 million votes.
On social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, celebrations for the new president-elect broke out soon after the election was called. Citizens in cities like New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and more all across the country were excited to hear the news, representing flags, dancing, playing music, and celebrating the outcome of the most important election this country has ever faced.
Here in the Town of New Paltz, citizens also rejoiced. “I personally am relieved with the results of the election, it feels like a weight has been lifted off my chest, ” says 16 year old New Paltz High School student Kendall Lucchesi.
While a weight may have been lifted after the election, Kendall acknowledges that there are other battles that still affect her. “[With] the recent nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, I’ve been stressed about my personal rights as a woman,” Kendall says. “Knowing that Mr. Trump doesn’t care about anyone who isn’t a white straight cis-male has made the stress increasing worse.”
Kendall continues, “but now that Joe Biden has been elected, I feel my rights are a little more protected.” Amy Coney Barrett was nominated by President Trump in October of 2020, and when she was appointed people were angry. She has expressed her belief that abortion should be illegal completely and if a woman has an abortion, she should be sentanced jail time. Taking away women’s reproductive rights is not a good step to unify a country.
Speaking of unity, New Paltz citizens are hopeful for the next four years. “Hopefully in the next four years we see a shift and change in the racism in the country,” Says 18 year old New Paltz High School alumni Sharai Martinez. “hopefully [Joe Biden] unifies the country and that this pandemic is handled the way it should have been a long time ago.”
As we have seen in the past eight months, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s lives. Whether you’re a student, someone with underlying health issues, or knows someone who has contracted or unfortunately died from the virus, it is slowing the country down. The fear that has been instilled in American citizens and undocumented people in America alike is ridiculous.
But this election is not all celebratory. Many local residents are also worried about what the next four years may bring. Coleen Erazo, mother to New Paltz alumni Alexis Erazo, explains that, “I’m afraid of Trump supporters and also afraid to put full trust in any politicians that they will follow through on important policies.”
In the past four years, America has seen the dedication of Trump’s supporters. The bigotry and hate that has been spread is truly astonishing. In the same vein as Erazo, Kendall claims that “Joe Biden faces the daunting challenge of reunifying the people of our divided country.” She confides that, “My worst fear is that the divide may grow, but I’m hopeful that [Joe Biden] will be successful in healing our country.” Sharai’s response was similar. “I’m scared that the people elected won’t keep their promises. Although we’ve seen Biden in office already we haven’t seen him as president,” Martinez explains. “That can be scary since we don’t know what he’s capable of. Other than that, I’m hopeful.”
There is no surprise that people don’t put their trust into politicians anymore. Since Trump’s presidency, we have seen a shift in what this country stands for, which should never be the case. America is a “melting pot” of all different races, religions, sexualities, and cultures, and we need to treat everyone equally. It will be hard but in the eyes of these New Paltz citizens, there is hope. There is hope to unify this country like it once was before President Trump was elected. A lot of hardships will be faced, but with the right people listening to the concerns of the American people, it is possible.
Featured Photo: AFP – Getty Images; AP