Biden and Harris' First Day: What Got Done and What Needs Doing
Day 1 was big for the Biden/Harris administration, here's a breakdown of the significance of each executive order
and where the focus can be going forward:
1. Federal Mask Mandate, centered around a "100 Day Challenge". If it works and cases drop, awesome, wearing a mask is still the most effective, everyday solution for preventing spread.
2. Rejoin WHO. A no-brainer, but still important.
3. Official Covid-19 Response Coordinator position that answers to the President. Not a huge surprise Trump deliberately refused to create this.
4. Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium until March 31st. Sorely needed as a nationwide initiative. Not only is it the only moral option, it will also help prevent the spread of Covid.
5. Extends pause on student loan payment and generation of interest until September 30th. While Biden has backtracked on his student loan promises a lot, this at least removes some pressure on folks struggling with predatory debt.
6. Rejoin Paris Climate Accord (will be official in a month). Much like with WHO, its a no-brainer, but US residents also had 4 years of a brain that produces only greed and hatred.
7. Keystone XL Pipeline is done, and federal agencies are directed to review and reverse Trump policies that gut environmental protections. This one is huge, and will arguably have the greatest long-term positive effect. Water Protectors are finally getting a policy win, and all pipelines will need to be shut down to stave off the worst effects of climate change by 2030.
Water Protectors made this happen, so don't get it twisted. (Image Source: https://medium.com/soapbox-dc/standing-rock-reveals-the-true-colors-of-both-the-media-and-the-democratic-party-34f8ae619ef4
8. Revoke Trump's 1776 Commission. It was a racist pile of filth, good riddance.
9. Prevents workplace discrimination of the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Its important to get this on paper, but actually enforcing this goes way beyond the office of President. The people have to make the spirit of this policy a reality.
10. US Residents that are not citizens must be included on the Census and in the apportionment of congressional representatives. An important blow to attempts at gerrymandering, and to tax the immigrant community without representation.
11. Fortifies DACA and undoes Trump's assault on the Flores Amendment (determines the maximum time a child can be detained by DHS). This is one that will require a revisit to analyze how the language of the order is applied and how sweeping it is at eliminating child detention, a practice which became widespread while Biden was VP.
12. Muslim Ban Gone. Good riddance, what a disgusting, racist policy.
13. Trump's expansion of DHS powers within the US is curtailed, effectively resetting it to Obama levels. DHS could still operate with near impunity within 100 miles of a border during Biden's last stint in the White House.
14. Trump's Border Emergency declaration is over, and his wall will be tossed with it. The Russian steel magnate Trump was trying to enrich with this will be pissed.
15. Extends deferrals for deportation and work authorization for Liberians until June 30, 2022. It would be nice to outright eliminate the deportations, but at least this lasts a year and a half.
16. Executive branch appointments must sign an ethics pledge barring them from acting in personal interest, and not using the DoJ to fulfill that personal interest. Seems like a rule that should already be in place? Really depends on how it will be enforced.
17. OMB Director is no longer subject to Trump's regulatory review process and must modernize. This is at least a sane policy reversal, but whether its a moral one is dependent on factors beyond just the scope of the order.
This is definitely the best day the people have seen from the executive branch in a long time. The Biden/Harris admin has effectively removed the unique variant of Trumpism from US government, but the larger struggle against US Fascism still remains. These are the institutions that evil most depends on:
1. Reagan-era tax cuts and the 2009 Citizens United ruling. This is what makes the US fit the most basic definition of fascism: a totalitarian union of wealthy business owners and the government. Until such a time as the wealthy cannot buy policy, legally or physically, we still live in a fascist government. Citizens United must be overturned and the income of the wealthy must be taxed at 50% or greater, ideally at the evaporation of billionaires and 100 millionaires.
2. The Department of Homeland Security. This must be abolished if people are to live in a free and equal society on this continent. It is a heavily militarized gang operating with near impunity and is the front line of enacting the US' most genocidal domestic policies. Among them: family separation and forced sterilization of immigrants, child detention and torture, adult detention and torture and greed-based restrictions on the human right to freedom of movement. While actual customs duties are under the DHS' umbrella, that's only been as recent as the Bush administration and abolition of DHS would not remove the more benign duties, like checking produce for disease upon entry to the US.
3. Close all US military bases on foreign soil, end naval blockades and/or build-ups around foreign countries. The US backs or enacts far more competent coups in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and SE Asia for business interests, such as overthrowing Evo Morales in Bolivia in a bid to give companies like Raytheon a monopoly on the country's lithium, which Morales was set to nationalize. Only by eliminating such violent and racist foreign policy can we be considered a moral society. What Trump did to the Democrats, both parties do gleefully to non-white nations for well over a century.
4. Defund and/or Abolish Police Departments. There's a number of different ways this can be accomplished. Slashing city, state, county and federal budgets for policing is an important step. Removing their ability to engage in medieval banditry with policies like Civil Asset Forfeiture and Qualified Immunity is just as important. Further, police must not be allowed a union, as they've proven over the past century they only exist to protect the institution's most flagrant brutality.
While that is far from the end of societal changes that need to take place, accomplishing these goals transition the US from a fascist empire back to a capitalist republic, and give the people home and abroad a much better chance at curtailing and healing from the swath of destruction the US has enacted in the name of white supremacy and greed.