Today marks inauguration day in America when we can say a final farewell to President Donald J Trump and his divisive and dangerous politics. For many in America and around the world, this moment could not have come soon enough.
Donald Trump’s legacy will be one of poison and division. The blatant racism, sexism and vitriolic hate spewed by the outgoing President while in office has left many Americans, and many more millions around the world, feeling attacked and scared.
Muslim Americans were the first victims of Trump’s assault on black and brown communities, with the issuance of the Muslim travel ban just days after he took office in 2017. This marked the opening barrage to what was four years of constant attacks and insults aimed at anyone who dared not to be white in America.
It is with a sense of relief then that I, a proud Muslim, Asian, and child immigrant, will celebrate the end of Trump’s presidency and welcome in America’s new leadership.
During his campaign, Joe Biden promised to “rip the poison of hate from our society” and pledged to honour the contributions of Muslim Americans while appointing Muslims at every level of his administration. His powerful rhetoric is already being transformed into action.
Since his victory, the Biden has announced the most racially diverse Cabinet in American history, with 50% of nominees being people of colour. This includes the first Black leader of the Pentagon, a Latino homeland security chief and a Native American cabinet secretary.
Just days before inauguration, President Biden also announced his intention to sign a dozen or so executive orders rescinding a number of his predecessor’s particularly odious policies. These include ending the Muslim travel ban, re-joining the Paris climate accord, and halting the border wall construction. Biden will also launch a large-scale immigration plan within his first 100 days in office to offer a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented migrants in America.
Joe Biden’s presidency offers Americans and those of us watching around the world an opportunity to heal from the trauma inflicted by his predecessor. But we must not be complacent. Trump’s presidency was, after all merely a symptom of a disease that runs far deeper and his racist worldview will not be magically expunged with today’s ceremony. We must continue to stay alert and fight hate wherever we see it.
Today marks an important moment not just for America, but for the world. This new President has the chance to reassert America’s place as a force for good in the world, renewing its position as a global leader that will work with Britain and other allies to defeat this pandemic, tackle climate change and challenge human rights abuses wherever and whenever they occur. Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and the Democrats have always shared Labour’s values and the links between our two parties remain strong.
I will be watching the events today with a sense of hope. Hope that, with the Trump presidency well and truly over, America and the world moves begin the long march to becoming a safer place for people of all different colours and creeds.