Elijah Winn is an environmental earth and soil science sophomore and Mustang News opinion columnist. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News. 

Joe Biden inherited a country plagued by racial injustice, a pandemic, economic deflation and overall political turmoil. However, as a candidate on the campaign trail, Biden declared he would combat all of these issues and becoming president isn’t accomplished on half-hearted statements and loose stances. 

To become commander in chief, a candidate has to display a conviction for tasks that must be accomplished. Biden made several claims on the campaign trail that should be revisited to assess and review his first year in office as the 46th president of the United States. 

One of Biden’s biggest pledges was 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days. In practice, his team actually oversaw 200 million vaccinations in his first 98 days. Impressive by itself, the fully vaccinated American population has grown to 64% as of January 21st, which is one full year since Biden was sworn in. 

While vaccinations did start during Donald Trump’s presidency, most Americans have been vaccinated during the Biden presidency. This is in part due to the rhetoric that Biden expressed to convince more Americans to get vaccinated being more substantial than that of the Trump presidency. 

A week before taking office, Biden specifically detailed a $1.9 trillion plan to soothe the effects that the pandemic has had on the American economy. He even said he would be willing to compromise with Republicans in order to get the bill out. While partitioning an impressive record breaking $465 billion for direct payments and reaching his goal for signing a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, his willingness to compromise in a situation that needed direct, objective help is troubling. It speaks to larger ailments that may characterize his tenure when his time in office is done. 

This tendency, while small, needs to be addressed at large as America is plagued with issues that require a president willing to take a hard-nosed stance to find a moral, beneficial solution for most people. Balancing equity and equality is a delicate, difficult job, yet is something that needs to be done when looking to better the country. 

Additionally, many Black Americans have been feeling frustrated as Biden vowed to push for police and criminal justice reform, but hasn’t accomplished anything significant. The continual neglect of an abused voice in the American populace is contributing to Biden’s inaction and compromises on matters that require critical attention. Also this illustrates the lack of substance for people that are hoping to find catharsis in their vote and misuse of minority support for political capital.

Biden oversaw the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, which has been overdue for many years. The initial positivity around the action was ruined by the vacancy of power that was left and the subsequent collapse of the country that forced many families to flee. The lack of foresight in regards to the withdrawal leaves a sour taste in the mouth as a reminder of the direct consequences of Biden actions. 

Overall, the economy has been relatively good, even with a high unemployment rate for workers, and while inflation is increasing significantly. While initially alarming, this is not as bad as it seems, as the result of this inflation is due to the massive spending plans that Biden prepared to directly mitigate an economic depression. 

In the first year polls, Biden’s approval rating was at 49%, the second lowest to Trump’s after his first year in office. It is important to note that first year approval rating is not necessarily linked to presidential success. Ronald Reagan had a 49% approval rating, yet was largely considered a successful president, meanwhile had Jimmy Carter had 57% in his first year and was regarded less effective than Reagan. 

While an infuriating answer, it seems that Biden’s first year in office has been average. He’s had great success in certain areas while completely falling short in others. Biden’s ‘average’ year has been extremely underwhelming during a time where our country is in dire need of help. 

His entire platform was based on a “return to normalcy” and, while he has taken steps in a better direction, it does not seem appropriate to deem his first year as a success in regards to a return to normalcy. A stronger hand is needed if seeking this goal is to be relegated as realistic over naive. 

Like any president, certain portions of Biden’s first year can be deemed a success, but when looking at the larger continuity of Biden’s presidency, a two steps forward one step back “progress” has led to the largely disappointing beginning to a presidency that needed to be a guiding hand into the future of progress and productivity.

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