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The USA After Donald Trump's Presidency

Short interview with US student includes personal impressions on Joe Biden's inauguration and the upcoming challenges - Online events from the Faculty of Humanities clarify political developments

At 6 p.m. German time, the Democratic candidate and winner of the presidential election in the USA - Joe Biden - will be inaugurated. Behind him lie turbulent weeks surrounding the end of the elections and the assumption of office from his Republican predecessor Donald Trump.

In several online events organized by the Faculty of Humanities at Chemnitz University of Technology, Prof. Dr. Kai Oppermann, holder of the Chair of International Politics at Chemnitz University of Technology, and his research assistant Jakob Kullik, among others, will shed light on the topics "The USA after Donald Trump's presidency," "The (UN)ited States of America" and "What have four years of Trump brought to International Relations?" The events are organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (Saxony). 

More information on the online events:
What: The U.S. after Donald Trump's presidency - What are the challenges for the coming years?
When: January 20, 2021, 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Online event (German)

What: The (UN)ited States of America: the political system and political polarization in the country.
When: January 27, 2021, 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Online event (German)

What: Shambles or Nobel Peace Prize? - What have four years of Trump brought to International Relations?
When: Feb. 3, 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Online event

Personal impressions of the past and upcoming challenges for U.S. society

Chelsea Burris is a student of English and American Studies and, together with Prof. Kai Oppermann, has already commented on the US election on the research podcast TUCscicast. A second episode will soon focus on Biden's assumption of office and the upcoming political challenges. In a short interview, Chelsea Burris describes how she experienced the last weeks and what she expects from President Biden.

Dear Ms. Burris, you are a Democrat yourself, and have been watching and commenting on the election process. Tonight is the inauguration of Democratic candidate Joe Biden. How did you experience the last weeks before the inauguration?

The last few weeks have been very stressful for me. The "Lame Duck" period, or the time between the election and the inauguration, is always strange, but this year it came to blows. I was frightened when I saw the photos and videos from the attempted coup. For Americans, it is a big deal to be able to visit the U.S. Capitol. The building is considered a symbol of our democracy, and seeing this riot was very frightening. The U.S. still has a lot of work to do to overcome the country's racist history.

You live and study in Chemnitz, so you are far from home. How are you experiencing this event, which is so significant for your home country, from afar?

Fortunately, there is a small American community here in Saxony. Of course, we can't meet at the moment, but the support via email and text from people who also live in Germany is very nice. But today I, like the majority of Americans, will watch it all on the Internet and text my parents as I watch.

You are a Democrat yourself. What do you expect from "your" president now?

I expect a quick and smart vaccination strategy and clear rules that will end the pandemic faster. I expect regulations that protect the climate. And I expect good health insurance for all Americans that is not tied to one’s work. And I hope the proposed bill that included an increased minimum wage becomes a law soon.

Biden has repeatedly stressed how divided the U.S. is and that he sees healing and unification as one of his most important issues of the presidency. Do you agree?

Yes. There will always be the threat of someone like Donald Trump being elected to the presidency as long as people agree with his beliefs. That's why we have to heal - at least a little bit. But there's also a line for me between unification and capitulation to far-right and racist ideas. It doesn't make sense to try and create unity with people who believe that other Americans do not deserve their legal rights.

What can Biden do to unite the country again?

It's really hard to get along with people when they're so far removed from reality. Many Trump voters simply lack empathy. But he can take concrete steps to make the population see that everything can be better if we stick together. He can't do that with words alone. Only actions can heal this division.

Where do you think USA will be after four years of President Biden?

Things can only get better. Hopefully the campaign promise to "Build Back Better" will be fulfilled, and we, as citizens, will have many new jobs, less debt, and universal health care.

Thank you very much for the interview.

(Article and Interview: Matthias Fejes / Translation: Chelsea Burris)

Matthias Fejes
20.01.2021

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