Verbum Ultimum: What Next?

Now's our chance to rebuild.

by The Dartmouth Editorial Board | 11/6/20 1:45am

It’s not over yet — but the results to date indicate that former Vice President Joe Biden has a clear path to being elected the next president of the United States. The election so far has not seen the overwhelming repudiation Democrats had hoped for. And for many, the continued widespread support for President Donald Trump — even after four years of hate-filled governance — is a slap in the face. But now is not the time to lament the unexpected or curse those who voted for a second term of Trump. Instead, it is up to us — as part of a driven, young generation newly instilled with a drive to make change  — to carry forward the momentum behind the 2020 election in pursuit of meaningful progress in America. 

Trump is likely on his way out, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Even if final votes are tallied and Biden officially becomes our next president, both he and the country must reckon with the dire state of our country. COVID-19 is killing over 1,000 Americans every day. Norms have been violated, alliances trampled and with Trump’s latest, baseless claim of massive voter fraud, even democracy itself has been denigrated. These have been years of decline and distrust, among politicians, among voters and among communities. Our country may soon be offered a second chance and a fresh start. It is vital that we don’t lose this momentum and push for results on those issues that matter most to us. 

As this election has shown, political division is worse than ever before. Our nation has been damaged by the divisive, inflammatory, hateful rhetoric that has spewed from the office of the president. As we go forward, we must relearn how to act toward each other with a little humility and even more empathy. If we want progress, we can’t squander this moment.

A clean environment, a thriving economy that works for all, health care that everyday people can afford, a secure democracy and a fair shot in this country for everyone, regardless of race — those are goals that we have the chance to make real progress on. The college-aged generation has already seen success in moving forward the dial on problems that have remained unaddressed — the widespread climate change protests and Black Lives Matter movement being just two examples. 

But now is not the time to rest on our laurels. If Biden wins, we cannot be complacent. Now is an opportunity to demand tangible change in America and reflect on what steps will need to be taken to realize the type of country we wish to live in. 

The editorial board consists of opinion staff columnists, the opinion editors, the executive editors and the editor-in-chief.