Google Is Not Everything…

The Future of the Biden Administration

Alexis Joy Viloria | Maui High School

From Trump’s “Stop the Steal” campaign to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and worries about President Biden’s safety leading up to his inauguration, much of America was holding her breath. Thankfully, with an inhale of clear air, President Joe Biden was finally inducted as the 46th President of the United States, with the country’s first Asian-American, black, and female Vice-President Kamala Harris by his side. With less concern regarding his safety amid such times of bipartisanship, what does the Biden-Harris administration have in store?

Promising to make it up to America after the previous administration, the Biden-Harris administration jumped into action on their first day in office. Taking measures to meaningfully address the pandemic, solve economic issues for the common people, and restore rights to people of all races and sexualities, the Biden-Harris administration did not run away from its campaign promises. Though it’s clear to see upfront what the new administration has done, what do our youth think about their impact in the long run? Three students explore their expectations and opinions of new leadership in the White House.

Kalem Ringlen
Photo courtesy Kalem Ringlen

Kalem Ringlen, a Junior at Maui High School shares his remarks on what he thinks of the new figures in D.C. A close witness of the electoral race as votes were counted, Kalem revisits his moments of anticipation and excitement. “As I recall, this election was special since voters were allowed to mail in the ballots, causing the counting of ballots, resulting in a delay of who won the 2020 elections. With that being said, I remember checking the electoral map every hour of the day for the whole week, seeing who will take the remaining states. I also remember updating my friends on the current status of the election, and I can say they were excited just as much as I was for this election!” says Kalem.

When the results were announced, Kalem was full of joy, thankful for the redemption of 2020 and a chance to start again. “When they called the election race, it’s like the sun was shining brighter and that everything seemed clear. Finding out that Joe Biden won the presidential race was probably the best thing to come out of 2020, considering all the bad things we’ve experienced that year… It felt like I was free again, to live my life the way I wanted. Thanks to COVID-19, 2020 was a year to remember. The good news is that the new administration is taking new actions to effectively address the pandemic.”

Kalem is confident in the new approach to the current pandemic wreaking havoc on the country. “Under this administration, I can already tell that the COVID-19 response from the government will be much more efficient and effective, considering the last administration was too narcissistic to even pay attention to the people. President Biden has shown on his first day that he’s willing to work for the American people from beginning to the end. This administration has something that the last government didn’t have and that’s compassion. With that being said, this administration will try everything in its power to stop this virus and get everyone vaccinated,” Ringlen states. Though he has high hopes in the response, Kalem remains realistic in America’s healing from the pandemic and the role of the citizens in this matter. “But we can’t expect all this to happen overnight, this administration was left with a big mess which they’re hopefully trying to fix. So what they can do for now is to reduce the transmission by enforcing laws that are helpful but also easy such as mandating face masks.”

Now a Junior preparing for college, Kalem hopes the new executives of the country will help him to get higher education on his side. Ringlen says, “One issue I hope this administration will address is the expensive cost of college. There’s no point in pursuing higher education when you’re in debt and seeing yourself falling into a deeper financial crisis. I’m just hoping this administration will see it through and make college affordable.”

With his last remarks, Kalem leaves a little message stemming from inaugural poet Amanda Gorman: “’Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that it isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.’ There’s hope that everything will get better, but only if we learn to get along with each other, whether it be Democrats or Republicans. There’s so much we can accomplish if we worked together!”

Faith Soliven
Photo courtesy Faith Soliven

Faith Soliven, also a Junior at Maui High School, shares what she thinks of the Biden-Harris administration. A fellow Asian-American, Faith has a positive outlook on Vice-President Kamala Harris. “Being a Filipina, it’s inspiring to see an Asian woman take on such a high leadership position in our country.” Looking at the success of other female-led countries, Faith is ecstatic about the country’s move towards gender inclusion and thinks this is as an excellent opportunity to empower female youth. “Compared to many places in the world like Denmark, Thailand, Australia and more, it’s about time we had a woman in prominent leadership. I think it inspires and gives hope to many young girls and women that they are worthy of breaking stereotypical barriers and making a change in the world,” says Faith.

When it comes to the administration’s approach towards education, Faith commends First-Lady Dr. Jill Biden for her commitment to a better system of schooling. “This is what I love so much about Jill Biden; her commitment and love for education give me hope that she can mirror it for the rest of our country.” With a professional educator in such a position of power, Faith hopes Dr. Biden will use her passion for teaching for good. “I hope for her to be active in educational reforms in both the classroom to support students and the livelihood of teachers through their pay. She understands first-hand the challenges in physical, virtual and blended learning in her role at Northern Virginia Community College.”

Like Kalem, Faith is taking steps to make her journey into higher education. She advocates for better accessibility and support for students like her. “I further hope she helps make college more affordable for many underprivileged students and develops programs that aid all kinds of students in college-career readiness.”

Jadynne Zane
Photo courtesy Jadynne Zane

Senior Jadynne Zane of Maui High School shares her thoughts on the administration. A medical field hopeful, COVID-19 is a focus point for Jadynne. With this new administration, Jadynne forecasts the new administration’s approach to the pandemic will be a huge step up from the previous administration. “With the new administration, I now believe there will be an end to COVID-19, seeing how irresponsible the previous administration was, denying the word of many health professionals.” This, of course, comes with Jadynne’s rationalism regarding the country’s response to new measures. “Although some people of our nation may dislike the precautions that the administration will take in the future, I believe it is necessary to overcome the pandemic and eliminate COVID-19.”

The founder of Girls in STEM, an organization at Maui High School dedicated to empowering women heading into the STEM field, Jadynne sees Vice-President Kamala Harris as a great role model. “Young female and colored students will look up to Kamala Harris, as she serves as an example and evidence that these students can achieve their dreams.” Witnessing the representation of figures much like herself in such a male-dominated sphere, Jadynne sees Kamala’s reign as a definite positive. “Seeing people that look like you tackling these hefty roles that were predominantly only achieved by a certain race and gender opens up the realm of hope.”

Moving forward, Jadynne has priorities she thinks should be addressed by the new White House, the first one being her focus on racial equity by addressing the justice system. “I hope the administration reforms the police system, considering the number of police brutality cases and unjust treatment documented on colored individuals. It is absurd how our system previously overlooked these issues.” With her future background in medicine, Jadynne hopes the administration will move towards bodily autonomy. “I hope the administration makes adjustments regarding abortion. A woman should have control over her body and be able to make responsible choices for herself.”

The youth featured have high expectations of the Biden-Harris administration. After nearly a month in office, it’s clear the administration is not one to disappoint and run away from its promises, especially considering the outpouring of support shown in both the election and today’s youth. With such a positive outlook on the administration, we hope the administration continues to fulfill the duties they promised on behalf of not just their voters, but for all of America.

Google® Is Not Everything is a monthly column authored by high school students. The title of the column emphasizes education is more than just googling a topic. Google® is a registered trademark. This month’s guest columnist is Alexis Joy Viloria, Maui High School Senior. She is the founder and President of the SaberScribes journalism club and Vice President of the Silversword Chapter of the National Honor Society. Alexis is a member of HOSA-Future Health Professionals as the Secondary Representative of the Hawai‘i HOSA State Council. She will be attending Stanford University in the Fall to major in Anthropology. Alexis is the daughter of Alex and Juvy Viloria.