Let’s recap what’s been happening lately in the world of U.S. politics

by Ashleigh Owens, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

 The Statue of Liberty: a symbol of freedom and American democracy. Photo by Ferdinand Stöhr on Unsplash
The Statue of Liberty: a symbol of freedom and American democracy. Photo by Ferdinand Stöhr on Unsplash

A lot has happened since the 2020 election cycle. And if we’re being honest, many of us have felt overwhelmed these past few months. To help you make sense of the decisive and hectic world of U.S. politics, the Jaguar Times spoke with Mr. DelBoccio, a U.S. government teacher here at Bradley, to dive into what’s been happening in our country lately.

Let’s start with the aftermath of the 2020 election. This election cycle was followed by many things, such as claims of widespread fraud and a disregard for our country’s norms by former President Trump. When asked if he could confidently say there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, Mr. DelBoccio stated “100 percent! In fact, this was probably the most secure election we’ve ever had. They were very particular because of worries about fraud. There's never really been any widespread fraud in our elections.” He added that “they’ve [the Trump team] been to court like fifty times, and the cases were thrown out.” This is true, and should reassure people that our election was free and fair. However, Mr. DelBoccio explained that “he [Donald Trump] has every right by the law to challenge it. Once those were exhausted, he needed to concede. For example, Michigan and Georgia had a recount. But once those were done, he should have conceded.” Recounts have happened numerous times in our country’s history, but once every legal avenue has been taken the results should be respected. Trump did kind of concede, however, perhaps in his own way. Mr. DelBoccio explained that “he [Donald Trump] did talk about a smooth transition and that he wished the Biden administration well. I’m not sure that’s conceding, but in his inner circle he admitted he knew he lost.” We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds for Donald Trump, but it seems for now that’s the closest to a more formal concession we’re going to get.

Next, let’s discuss the events at the U.S. Capitol. America was shocked as the Capitol building was breached during a joint session of Congress on January 6th to certify the election. People have blamed former President Trump for these events, so that’s where we started. Mr DelBoccio shared that “I think he’s [Donald Trump] to blame to a certain degree. When you’re telling people who really believe it [the election] was rigged and you use that rhetoric, it’s not good. It’s one thing to give a pep talk in sports, it’s another to say those things in this context. He is to blame, but I’m not sure to what degree.” This is a common belief, that Trump isn’t in the clear but he wasn’t alone. Mr. DelBoccio pointed out people like “Rudy Gulliani, Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Josh Hawley” as also playing a role. He explained that “Senator Cruz knows a lot. He went to an Ivy League college and knows the conspiracies aren’t true. He’s to blame as well for feeding the lies. It’s one thing to be disappointed, it’s another to spread rumors. There’s a multitude of people to blame.” Many people seem to feel this way, and wish influential politicians would simply be honest with their constituents and the country.

And now, of course, Trump’s second impeachment. Right away, when asked if impeachment was warranted Mr. DelBoccio said “yeah, I do. Now the decision to convict will be on the Senate and it’s a matter of what you do from here.” Conviction is a big question right now. Mr. DelBoccio said that “to me, that’s a question for the Senate. And more importantly, the Republican Party has to deal with that. If you are a senator and your constituents like Trump, you work for your constituents.” This is why this is a complicated debate. Senators are supposed to represent the people who elected them. They will all have to untimely decide what is best for their constituents, and the country. Mr. DelBoccio also shared he feels Trump should be barred from ever holding federal public office again if he is convicted in a Senate trial.

We can’t forget the inauguration on January 20th. There were concerns over how it would work and if it was safe, given that the events at the Capitol were only two weeks prior. But at noon that Wednesday, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as President and Vice President. Things went as planned, with safety adjustments and precautions. Mr. DelBoccio was overall pleased with the inauguration, saying “yeah, it went smoothly. As smoothly as it can go in a pandemic world. I think Biden will now have a challenge with uniting the country.” However, he also shared “I thought Trump’s went smoothly as well.” This shows that we are still able to come together enough, if only for a day, for democracy to persist.

Lastly, what can we expect from a Biden-Harris presidency? This is a big question, as it is with any new administration. Between COVID-19, calls for racial justice, economic challenges and more, our country is going through a lot. When asked about Biden’s inaugural address, Mr. DelBoccio explained that “It was a good speech. According to my classes, they thought it was a speech Americans needed to hear to move forward.” This was the main idea of Biden’s speech, unity and creating a better future. It seems that message resonated with many Americans and was effective. This work is just beginning though. Mr. DelBoccio shared that “I think Biden has his work cut out for him to try to get some degree of government working. We’ve been in gridlock for at least twenty years. Most people are moderates who lean to the left or right, and would like to see the government come together. I’m not sure that will happen, but hopefully they can. I think people are tired of the chaos and want some normalcy.” We are more alike than we realize, so hopefully politicians can work together to achieve common goals and do what’s best for the American people.

Overall, our country has endured a lot lately and is now going through yet another change with a new administration in the White House. Thank you to Mr. DelBoccio for taking the time to walk us through the numerous events of the past few months. The Jaguar Times would like to encourage us all to show love and respect to everyone we come in contact with, because hatred and division gets us nowhere. We all have a part to play in creating a better world and country for future generations. No matter how hard or bleak things may seem at times, don’t ever stop trying to make a positive change. That change starts with you, because your voice is more powerful than you know. As Audrey Hepburn once said, "Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!"

Stay healthy, stay happy, and stay hopeful.