Today is the start of a new era. That sounds dramatic, but it’s the truth. Today starts our reckoning with the past four years in which our elected leader set a selfish example, working only for himself, and deepened the divisions already present in this country. We have rebuilding to do.
Today is not the end. As Dr. Abdul El-Sayed put it on his podcast, America Dissected, “Joe Biden is not the destination, but the door.” Our country has been dragged away from positive progress for the past 4 years, instead regressing to older-fashioned ideas and outdated policies. If there is one good thing to come of the last four years, it is the end of the myth that has been perpetuated for far too long, the myth of "American Exceptionalism." The terrible scenes we saw on January 6th, real domestic terrorism happening in our nation's Capitol, was the final nail in that coffin.
In terms of rebuilding, Biden is still pretty moderate in his outlook, but we can start to take steps to real progressive policies, to become the America we ought to be.
Biden has already revealed plans to listen to real science and to use all the resources at our country’s disposal to roll out vaccines at the speed we ought to achieve. I can only hope he is able to increase resources for testing, tracing, and PPE as well. We can finally stop being so isolationist, so cut off from the world both physically and culturally, and take our place among other nations on the world’s stage not as a laughingstock, but as a leader again.
I’ve been blocked by a few people on Facebook recently, maybe because I’ve been “too political” lately, or I was too aggressive in fighting medical and political misinformation. Unfortunately, medicine is inherently political, so I must advocate for a leader and for policies that will help me provide the best care for my patients. I plan to listen more to viewpoints of those with less privilege, and to try to amplify those voices.
I hope we start to see more equity for and less discrimination against people of all races, genders, and sexual orientations (discrepancies that were present before 2016, certainly), not just in medicine but on a national scale. This requires policy change, but just as importantly it requires education and better messaging. I hope to see that from the new administration, and I vow to propagate that as best I can with whatever platform I can.
***Update after I got the chance to watch the inaugural address***
I wept at parts of the speech. It was amazing just to hear a president talk about someone other than himself again, to discuss unity, invite collaboration, and profess to serve all the people and not sow division between his cult and the rest of America. I know Joe Biden is not perfect. Everyone knows that, but he is already working to undo the evils of the previous administration. This speech gave me so much hope for the next four years, and he is already getting a running start.
And Amanda Gorman made me melt. She pulled no punches. Her words were beauty balanced by fury. I was utterly floored.
We are at the door to what’s next. Now the work starts.