By Alex Johnson
COVID deaths in the hundred-thousands, skyrocketing unemployment and a violently divided country are just a few of the issues President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris inherited when they took office Jan. 20, 2021. On top of the immediate threats, Biden hopes to address the long-differed issues, such as climate change, that are quickly reaching a “point of no return”.
In his first week, President Biden signed 22 executive orders, many undoing what the previous administration had done and signaling to progressives that the new president is ready to work with them. Included were a re-joining of the Paris Agreement, an order to advance racial equality and support for underserved communities and a reversal of the transgender military ban as well as an order explicitly protecting the LGBTQ+ community beyond military service.
On the subject of education, Biden signed yet another order dissolving the 1776 Commission. The commission, started late in the former president’s term, was often criticized for promoting a nationalist version of the United States’ often troublesome history. The orders were about more than just “cleaning up” after the previous President, though. College students can breathe a sigh of relief, with one EO pausing federal student loans with 0 percent interest.
Although Biden’s message since his 2019 campaign started has been one of unity, critics are claiming his flurry of executive orders are doing the opposite. While, expectedly, conservatives are not happy about the new administration, the LGBTQ+ community (particularly the “T” part) seem to be on the receiving end of much of the ire. Biden’s Republican colleagues are ready to fight the administration, with Rep. Marjorie Greene (R-Ga.) filing articles of impeachment only one day after inauguration.
After the violent outbreak at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, it is obvious that the new administration has many potentially impossible steps to take if they want to unify the country.