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Opinion: Biden Is President, This Is Why Local Politics Is More Important Than Ever

[dropcap size=big]N[/dropcap]ot going to lie: When I watched the inauguration, I felt a weird swelling in my chest. Is this hope?

Biden was inaugurated today, coming at the heels of a presidency that allowed 400,000 Americans to die of COVID-19 and created draconian policies like family separation and the “Muslim ban” on travel (it’s important to note that the horrors of US immigration system began long before Trump). 

Biden entered the oval office with a lot of promises for his first 100 days including getting 100 million vaccines in American arms, restrictions on evictions and foreclosures, a long overdue $1.9 trillion dollar COVID-19 relief package, sending a bill to congress to give 11 million undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, and more.

As folks prepare to hold Joe Biden accountable to his promises on the campaign trail, it’s important to remember what local politicians have said all pandemic long. From Mayor Garcetti partially blaming his own COVID-19 response on President Trump, to councilmembers calling for federal assistance to address the pandemic and the housing crisis that was exacerbated by it.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in L.A. passed 1 million this week, and the county lost 14,000 lives, with the virus hitting poor communities of color the hardest. So many people are dying, air quality regulations on cremations were lifted to manage all of the deaths

More people are getting pushed out of their homes due to the pandemic and the city continues invasive and disruptive sweeps of unhoused communities, taking the belongings of unhoused people and displacing them. From 2016 to 2020, more unhoused people died of hypothermia in L.A. than in SF and NYC combined.

Now that local leaders will have the support of the federal government, it’s more important than ever to watch them. What will they be doing to address the pandemic? The housing crisis? Police violence? Improving the vaccine rollout?

Now that local leaders will have the support of the federal government, it’s more important than ever to watch them. What will they be doing to address the pandemic? The housing crisis? Police violence? Improving the vaccine rollout?

Tuning into local politics can be intimidating, but local news outlets like this literary trompo and the other proud few left in Los Angeles make it easier: LAist, Knock-LA, Los Angeleno, and The LAnd Magazine.

Following the lead of organizations and folks like Black Lives Matter-LA, KTown For All, LACAN, People’s Council, Street Watch LA, Polo’s Pantry, People’s Pantry also make it easier to follow how the actions of local politicians impact vulnerable communities, how to support said communities, and how to organize. Lastly, if you find yourself attracted to a particular cause in your community—get involved.  

This new presidency can help change happen quicker, but that change isn’t a given unless politicians are continually pushed and held accountable to their constituents.

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