By Laura Blanco
President Joe Biden’s first year in office has been historic and tumultuous. Among other things, Americans have seen the first female vice president, COVID-19 vaccination availability, a record of 6.6 million jobs added, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, and the $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal passed as an investment in the country’s future by ensuring things such as clean water, high-speed internet, and safe roadways.
Supporters of Biden are content with what he’s been able to accomplish this past year, but still feel like he has more to work on.
Damon Watts and Brenda Sierra, two Barry seniors studying political science, both felt a relief when Biden took office.
“I believe this administration has been a breath of fresh air, compared to the last one, at least for me,” said Watts. Sierra agreed.
“Policy aside, you could tell that there has been a shift in the overall attitude and just dignity of the executive branch, if that makes sense,” said Sierra.
Dr. Sean Foreman, chair of the department of history and political science, acknowledges that the Biden Administration is trying hard but also has had difficulty because of the country’s current environment and a lack of compromise between political parties.
“Part of the reason Joe Biden was elected was because people thought he could get things done, especially after Donald Trump and a lot of the chaos of the last administration,” said Foreman. “The idea was that Joe Biden knew how to govern, so he could accomplish a lot.”
In his opinion, this administration has not lived up to the promise that people hoped for in the first year, such as restoring state voting rights for minorities and implementing immigration reform.
On the other hand, Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Leah Blumenfeld believes the Biden Administration has done remarkably well given the circumstances.
“How we evaluate presidents always depends on the context of their time in office,” said Blumenfeld. “This president has had more to deal with than most in our history and certainly than any in recent memory."
Despite the slight disagreement about Biden’s success, all interviewees agreed that the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 was a low point for the administration.
“That was just a messy situation and even a lot of people on the Democratic side did not like the way they did that,” said sophomore history major William Mannle.
The withdrawal of troops ended the 20-year war that started shortly after 9/11.
According to a survey conducted by The Buccaneer, 68.9 percent of students at Barry do not feel like President Biden was effective in the first year of his term. However, 31.1 percent of students approved of his first year’s work.
Beyond Barry, a Reuter’s approval poll revealed that 50 percent of Americans disapprove of the president, and 43 percent of Americans approve, as of Jan. 28 of this year.
Those who criticize Biden blame him for gas prices rising, not “ending” the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, and no policies being passed to address immigration and voting rights.
“All of these assume a president is singlehandedly responsible, which is simply untrue given the complexity of each issue,” Blumenfeld explained.
With that in mind, everyone is encouraged to look forward to the reform that can happen this year. For example, many hope that the John Lewis Voting Rights Act will be passed in the Senate to restore the federal government’s power to oversee state voting laws and protect minority voters.
Looking forward, 2022 could be a more defining year for the Biden-Harris administration as they will have time to collaborate with Congress and potentially make progress in their agenda.