On Saturday after days of suspenseful ballot counting, spectators awarded Joe Biden victory in the 2020 presidential election. Although there are still outstanding vote tallies in some states, it appears as though Biden will receive the majority—more than 270—of the delegate votes in the electoral college and will be elected President.
Whatever we think about the candidates, the legitimacy of the United States’ electoral institutions and the results, we can be very grateful to have seen a record number of votes and early votes across the country. Furthermore, the demographic of student voters were crucial not only to participating in but organizing the election. This is fantastic news and we can’t encourage the community enough to participate and help facilitate elections more in the future.
What’s important now is the entire community at the University of Connecticut considers how to maintain and expand our commitment to politics beyond this election. Whatever our thoughts are of the results, we can probably agree that this one election is incapable of reflecting our beliefs about what this country and its government should be with perfect accuracy.
At least, this understanding is pervasive through our dialogue about this election. We talk about how a particular candidate may be imperfect yet still the best of our few options, or how both of the candidates are flawed but one is particularly flawed, so we were obligated to vote for the other. This is a conversation we are only capable of having because, whatever we may think of them, American political institutions have much work to do in terms of giving all Americans the voice that they deserve within government.
If the people in a given area lack representation in their government, they must either wait for that government to self-correct or independently work to change their situation. This may look like joining a political party or registering people to vote. Yet for us at UConn this could look like becoming involved with local activism, joining a concerned student organization or even simply asking your neighbors what their struggles are and how you could help. Politics extends far beyond the ballot box, and we each have the opportunity to become politically involved in personally meaningful ways which highlight our strengths and interests.
We should be able to look at a political event such as the recent election, appreciate its negative and positive consequences, and then consider how we can move forward to create a more vibrant and politically involved society. The only way any community can come to enjoy political rights, unity and cohesion—which it currently lacks—is through organization and work to achieve or create them, and there is no better time than the present.