How the inauguration of a new president has affected the Azusa Pacific community 

On Jan. 20, in Washington D.C. the 46th president of the United States was sworn into office. While inaugurations are historic events that occur every four years, this year people watched with special interest. 

As president Joe Biden looks ahead to his administration and begins his duties, the effects of having a new president have already begun to resonate with many across America. Many feel that after years of growing tension, division and unrest, the country is due for a time of reconciliation and unity.

Dr. Daniel Palm, professor and chair of the history and political science department at Azusa Pacific, expressed his passion for the American transition of power and hope for the future of American liberties. 

“I always look forward to Presidential inaugural addresses, especially after a contentious election, as occasion to remind Americans of our superb Constitution and political procedures, and of the political principles—individual liberty, equality before law, limited government—on which both rest,” said Dr. Palm of the inauguration. 

Dr. Palm, who teaches a seminar in the foundations of liberty, expressed that he wishes for these liberties to remain at the forefront of the new president’s policy-decisions. “If he does so he’ll be doing his administration and the entire country a great service,” said Dr. Palm.

Expressing similar hopes for the new president, junior piano performance major Alex Wood said that he is excited for the Biden presidency. He hopes the president will bring the country together, strengthen our relationships with other nations and keep us moving forward. 

“I do think he will face several obstacles, but the most notable is advancing his policies without driving a wedge further between the polarized groups in the U.S.,” Wood said, commenting on the current polarization of the nation. 

Biden is inheriting the presidency during a time he claims to be as divisive as when Lincoln took office. However, he has enacted many controversial executive orders, having signed over 15 in his first two days in office

Meanwhile, other students on campus are hesitant about what the Biden presidency will shape America into. Touching on the same sentiments, communication and honors humanities junior, Jillian Schneider fears how divided the nation may become. 

Schneider fears that under Biden’s administration many conservatives will continue to feel the need to silence themselves. 

“I believe many conservatives feel misunderstood, even vilified. If I had one wish, it would be for President Biden to be a leader who listens. I hope President Biden understands that there are loyal and virtuous Americans all over the political spectrum,” expressed Schneider. 

Unlike Wood, Schneider did not express confidence in the new administration’s ability to unite the nation together. 

Jared Klingseis, international relations, political science and honors humanities senior, also sees little hope for unity stating, “I enjoyed listening to Biden’s speech and agreed. However, Biden spoke righteous words to deaf ears.”

Klingseis believes that under the new administration tensions may grow, as President Trump brought out the worst in both political parties, but both sides should be aware that neither of their worst fears will come true. 

Like his peers, junior kinesiology major, Connor Owens expressed hopes that the new president will, “be a slightly less polarizing president than Trump and bring the chaos of the last year or so down a couple notches.”

As a student who grew up overseas, Owen expressed great admiration for President Biden, who acted in a traditionally presidential manner, regardless of his feelings about Biden’s proposed policies. 

“I’m praying God gives him and his staff wisdom, and that this country returns to their desire to be a nation indivisible, under God, with liberty and justice for all,” concluded Owen. 

Much like Owen, Dr. Abbylin Sellers, professor in the department of history and political science, expressed the need for prayer for the new president and issued a word of caution for all Christians at this time.

Remembering a recent quote she heard, Dr. Sellers stated, “‘There is news and there’s truth.’ The truth is putting our faith in Jesus Christ as our sovereign God.” 

Regardless of whether or not the election resulted in the outcome one desired, Dr. Sellers had questions for the community to wrestle with. 

“We are called to pray for our leaders, are we faithfully doing that? Are we praying for the best interest of the country or for the selfishness of what we want?” asked Dr. Sellers. 

Going further in this sentiment, Dr. Sellers asked about how we are responding in a more personal fashion as well. “How are your relationships with others? We cannot be people of hollow rhetoric,” she warned.

As the new administration continues to unveil its plans, the clear sentiment across the board is whether or not they will be able to unify the country in not only rhetoric but action.