The Meaning of Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris' Election—A Global View

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Vice President Kamala Harris--new possibilities for U.S.. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

[View From London]

The election of Donald Trump as president in 2016 took the world by storm. Nobody could have predicted that a man who run a campaign based on instilling fear, hate, division would become the leader of the free world.  

A business man with a pendant for tweeting his feelings every time he felt insecure, now had his finger on the nuclear button. The world instantly became a very unsafe place to live in.

During the Trump tenure, which officially ended on January 20, America became even more polarized, with racists obviously emboldened by their president, who called Black people “lazy,” Mexicans “rapists,” Moslems “terrorists” and African countries “shitholes.” One has to wonder about the calibre of someone who would support such an unpresidential president. His first order of the day was to sign executive orders undoing the achievements of his predecessor, President Barack Obama, during his scandal-free eight years at the White House.

Refusing to accept that he was about to become a one-term president, Trump encouraged his “very fine people” to attack Capitol Hill, where Congress had convened to certify Joe Biden as the next president of the United States of America. Watching this attack on Capitol Hill, on Congress and on democracy was like watching the Anime, “Attack on Titan” where Titans clambered over walls killing and wreaking havoc on buildings and property and brawling with defenders of the walls. It is a sight the world will never be able to unsee.

On Wednesday January 20th, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States of America, a president for all Americans. All right-thinking people across the world breathed a sigh of relief, after all, a new leadership in the White House affects the world at large with changes to foreign policy. President Biden has received congratulatory messages from leaders around the world.  

British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, whom Biden once called, a physical and emotional clone of Trump, said “The U.S. is our most important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our most shared priorities from climate change to trade and security.”

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said she was looking forward to working with Joe Biden, calling the trans-Atlantic friendship irreplaceable.

Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, in his congratulatory message said Biden’s election had come at a time of uncertainty and fear in world affairs and his election is a reminder that democracy is the best form of government because it offers the people the opportunity to change their government by peaceful means. Some people would remind Buhari to practice at home what he preaches. 

The Fiji Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama took to twitter congratulating Biden and adding that, “together, we have a planet to save from a #ClimateEmergency and a global economy to build back better from #COVID19. Now, more than ever, we need the USA at the helm of these multilateral efforts (and back in the #ParisAgreement – ASAP!)”.  Trump did not believe in science. He thought climate change was a hoax

Watching the inauguration from the UK, I thought about my two brothers, nieces, nephews and close family friends who live in the U.S., who have had to live in fear these past four years, because of a president who saw them as lesser beings, because of the color of their skin, and incited other racist European Americans to view them the same way.

During the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, after the killings of many unarmed Black men and women by the police, Trump as the president, did nothing de-escalate the anger and frustration felt in the Black communities at this senseless loss of innocent lives. His silence divided an already divided country. 

As Joe Biden took the oath of Office, I rejoiced for my family and non-racists, believing that America will return to some semblance of calm and normalcy without Trump stoking fires of hostility and segregation.

Unlike Trump, president Biden is a politician with invaluable years of experience necessary to hold the office of the president. There is however no doubt that President Biden has inherited a country left in shambles and he has his work cut out for him. Trump’s “America First” policy will likely be replaced by a more international system, a globalistic approach from which America, its allies and the rest of the world will benefit and the narrative on race, xenophobia, Afrophobia, sexism, LGBQ, prejudice and hate will take on a different tone. African countries will no longer be referred to as “shitholes” by a leader of the free world.

In his first week as president, Biden signed 30 executive orders, all necessary to right the ills of his predecessor.  Among those are; halting the funding for Trump’s border wall, reversing travel ban targeting Muslim countries, imposing a mask mandate on federal property, ramping up vaccination supplies, and requiring international travelers to provide proof of a negative covid-19 test prior to traveling to the U.S.

President Biden’s cabinet is notably very diverse, with 50% being persons of color. Vice President Kamala Harris is of Indian and Jamaican heritage. This is more reflective of America’s demography. This is also a clear sign that reconciliation and inclusivity is part of his plan, echoing the thoughts of inaugural poet laureate Amanda Gorman, 22 years old, who called for unity and togetherness in her poem, “The Hill We Climb” when she said, “compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.”

Referencing the attack on Capitol Hill, the poet said, “we have seen a force that would shatter our nation, rather than share it.  Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy, and this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated”.

There is no illusion that America will heal immediately, but the feeling is that, at least president Biden and his administration will be moving in the right direction.  

London-based writer Doris Allimadi can be reached via 



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