On the night of August 20, 2020, Joe Biden formally accepted the Democratic nomination for President. Originally supposed to be held from Milwaukee, the former vice president accepted it from his native Wilmington, Delaware.
I watched Biden's acceptance speech live. Watching it, I felt a mixture of hope and anger. Hope in that it was somewhat relieving to watch a general election nominee that wasn't childish or didn't sound like a robot, like we did in 2016. And anger in that I fought and prayed so hard that Bernie Sanders would have his nomination following a damning loss four years ago.
I criticized Joe Biden for being too moderate. I thought (and I still do) think that's going to be major problem for him going forward in trying to reconcile both the progressive-wing of the Democratic Party and the loyalists that have stayed true to Donald Trump after all of this time.
I was, and still am, part of that progressive faction of the Democratic Party. I couldn't vote in 2016 because I was too young, but if I did, I probably would've voted for Jill Stein. You could probably say that my opinion didn't matter then because I was 17, but looking back I understood that if I was older, I may have contributed to Trump's election even further.
I've learned from these mistakes, and leading up to this presidential cycle, I promised myself that I would do whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump in 2020. And for that reason, I'm voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris this presidential cycle.
I understand that my progressive peers will disagree with me on this decision, and I hear them. I really do. But the Trump administration, these past four years, have time and time again committed heinous crimes against our democracy. Though it's not to say that things were good before him, it is to say he has exacerbated them beyond belief than any other of his predecessors.
Whether it's the wall, putting children in cages, sympathizing with neo-Nazis, kissing up to Vladimir Putin, demonizing every marginalized group under the sun and letting over 170,000+ Americans die on his watch from COVID-19, the list goes on with the things Trump has done to make the United States the laughing stock of the world.
When you don't vote for Joe Biden, you are potentially saying to Trump that it is ok for him to do these again unchecked until 2024. Because let's not forget which president downplayed COVID-19 and led us all to a life away from each other.
Does this mean that Joe Biden will not do these things, or that he hasn't done them before? Of course not. I'm still a progressive, and I understand that Biden is part of a problematic faction of Democrats that have enabled the status quo for too long.
But the silver lining is that we have a better shot and commitment to hold both Biden and Kamala Harris accountable. Because in the end, it's the next generation of voters that not only they need to win this election, but will be the next generation that they will serve as we grow older.
I hate voting for the lesser of the two evils all the damn time. It's extremely unfortunate that we have to settle for this in a nation that stresses democracy across the world. But Rome wasn't built in a day. If we want to build a more equitable and just America, we need to stay politically diligent. And given this nation's racial reckoning and as we grieve what we've lost to this pandemic, I don't think that will be a problem going forward.
So register to vote if you haven't already. Apply to vote by mail if you haven't already applied. The struggle continues and it will continue if we do not amplify our voices.