Looking back at four years of chaos, the Biden administration faces monumental challenges picking up the pieces in the four years that lie ahead. The executive team must drag the country out of the dark ages; it not only has to fix damaged relations internationally, but a lot of healing is left to be done at home. The good news is that President Joe Biden already has addressed some of the most important issues. He has signed orders addressing the pandemic, regarding the protection of DACA, and ending workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. But that is just the tip of the iceberg, and our ship is heading straight toward disaster unless our leader changes course.

With the start of a new era of presidential leadership, it is important to underline issues Gen Z faces that require immediate attention.

Fighting the coronavirus

First, the coronavirus pandemic needs to be addressed with authority. It is fortunate that the U.S. is reentering the World Health Organization and there is already a plan of attack outlined for Biden’s first 100 days of office. However, this plan will only work if everyone abides by the rules; every time someone refuses to wear a mask and endangers the safety of others, the entire situation is prolonged. So far, the order seems too much like a suggestion and needs to be enforced. I suggest attempting to send a proposal for temporary law to Congress, requiring masks in public until the pandemic is over.

Climate change

Meanwhile, the climate issue needs to be dealt with. The good news is that the U.S. is already rejoining the Paris climate accord and almost all of the harmful actions of the previous administration are under review. However, it is clear that we don’t just need to return to the parameters of the Paris climate accord but completely overhaul our policy so that we are leading in the field of green technologies. We need to follow an immediate precautionary principle; a failure to act now is doing my generation a great disservice.

Economic equity

There is already an effort to address the issue of the minimum wage, with it being raised to $15 an hour for government employees. Raising the minimum wage will make it easier to pay off the inevitable burden of student loans my generation will have to deal with after the pandemic. We’ve seen millennials struggle to pay for basic necessities like housing and transportation because of college debt, so I’d make an educated guess that Gen Z will have an even worse time. Addressing issues of economic equity and creating permanent solutions are important steps toward healing the nation.

Uniting the country

The division in this country is a big issue. Given the extent of the division, it is doubtful political opponents are open to reconciling, but I am hopeful Biden will be able to set a few things in place that will help unite the American people. The removal of the 1776 Commission, an effort by former President Donald Trump to instill “patriotic education” in public schools, is a good start. Nothing good will come from an education system that disguises the truth of history in a manner that is so politically backward and biased. The United States has a very dark history, and deluding ourselves into believing a sterile, one-sided reality is possibly the most harmful thing we could do because we will forget the atrocities of the past.

We already have an alarming percentage of the population that fails to understand the causes of the Civil War, is unaware of the atrocities the government has committed against the Native population and are completely oblivious to the very nature of the Holocaust. Good riddance to such a policy. This administration needs to crack down on hate groups and get rid of them completely. There is no place for them in our society, and if political figures oppose that act, perhaps their interests should be investigated.

Health care

Following the example of EU countries also would be very beneficial for fixing our health care system, which is a complete joke in its current form. I eventually want to be able to get a knee replacement or be able to ride in an ambulance if I have to and not have to worry about bankrupting myself because I cannot afford health insurance. It is a disgusting monopoly.

Gun control

There has been and is going to be a lot of pushback on any attempts by this administration to regulate this issue because the idea that people have the right to own a killing machine is so ingrained in American culture. There should have been legislation to regulate guns after the Columbine school massacre, yet the very same issue still needs to be dealt with 21 years later. Were it not for the pandemic, I probably still would be paranoid about a school shooting. As pessimistic as this sounds, I am certain that when schools open up again it is only a question of when, not if, another shooting will happen. I cannot put into words how angry it makes students that after every incident there is complete ignorance toward the issue.

Somebody needs to take a stand and make it clear that no one, especially students, should be shot by a lunatic who should never have been allowed access to a firearm in the first place. I am expecting something to be done about this, and I am expecting a bit more than “thoughts and prayers” from the nation’s leaders. We can safely have guns in our society — Switzerland manages just fine, but it has a boatload of regulation that prevents mass violence. Loopholes need to be closed, there needs to be stern regulation on what is allowed and guns need to be taken away from unstable individuals. There shouldn’t be a question about what needs to be done, so what is taking so long?

Unfortunately, I am afraid any action that the Biden administration attempts to tackle these pressing issues will be met with harsh opposition. Dare I say, it seems disheartening a portion of this country’s population is demonstrating a deficit in consideration for intelligent information. I am afraid Biden is going to face issues when dealing with opposition from individuals and media that suggest biases in order to promote counterproductive beliefs. If he is to succeed as president, the reasoning and science behind his actions need to be explained, especially in a time where pseudoscience runs rampant. Intelligence needs to be back in charge, not fearmongering.

Ben Timm is a senior at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School. Contact him at bentigertimm

@gmail.com.

(1) comment

Khal Spencer

Gen Z needs to go read the Constitution.

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