The Politics of Everyday Life


On Jan. 20, millions of Americans cheered as Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States. In the aftermath of Biden’s inauguration, it is disheartening to see a drop in politically active people around me. In the later months of 2020, I couldn’t go a day without seeing someone repost an infographic on social media about police brutality, violent conflicts overseas or the migrant children from America’s southern border. Now, these infographics are largely gone. 

To a certain extent, making the choice to drop any semblance of political awareness confuses me. Although it may not seem superficially apparent, politics are rooted in almost every part of the world. 

Did you order a textbook from Amazon that’s taking longer to arrive than initially expected? It might be because Amazon workers in Alabama successfully voted to unionize and are no longer working under an intense crunch from Amazon employers. 

Are you noticing that the Columbus Circle subway stop is missing a subway attendant while on your way to Lincoln Center? It’s likely because the MTA successfully passed its plan to lay off 185 employees and remove 20 station booths, a move currently being contested after being shut down by the Manhattan Supreme Court. 

It is possible that the group of homeless people you’re sharing the subway car with are there only because they were displaced by newly installed anti-homeless architecture that disrupted their preferred place to sleep. 

While there might be other reasons at work, these situations are based on potential outcomes of real political struggles that will affect the average New York City citizen’s everyday life.

There are so many ways, both subtle and overt, in which politics manifests itself. Going to work invokes the political struggle of class. Paying tuition fees invokes the political struggle of education. Choosing to ride in an Uber instead of the subway invokes a political struggle of public versus private transport

Ignoring politics under the belief that the struggle has disappeared is the same as ignoring the details of life. Beyond these details, there are disenfranchised people whose voices are being ignored. Amplifying these voices is an effective and manageable way to bring justice to those who deserve it.

For the number of political struggles that are continually occurring, surprisingly few have appeared on my social media feeds or come up in conversation. It seems as though people are taking a rest because Donald Trump is out of office. If anything, attaining a political victory is the opposite of a signal to become complacent; it is a signal to become more vocal than ever. It isn’t enough to be content with a single victory, but to make sure a victory brings forward political, cultural and social significance that attempts to reconcile with the former. 

I believe the complacency after Biden’s inauguration is a result of the campaign’s election strategy. In the months leading up to November 2020, there was an increasingly aggressive voter registration campaign. Although this seems like an obvious move, there was more emphasis on winning than actually creating change as the president. 

It is important to keep up with Biden-era politics and demand that the newly inaugurated president and his cabinet deliver on the many promises made during his campaign. For example, the $1,400 stimulus checks included in a COVID-19 relief package unveiled on Jan. 14 are far from the $2,000 checks used to incentivize eligible voters to participate in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff elections. The new stimulus package is an example of an administration turning its back on the people who elected them into office.

My advice: Take the energy acquired while campaigning toward a presidential victory and apply it to the struggles present in your community. After all, the small victories can add up to significant improvement in the quality of life for many people.