Laleh Ispahani in Just Security:
President Joe Biden wasted no time after his inauguration before starting to overturn many of the most odious actions of the Trump administration, issuing sweeping executive orders on everything from racial equity and immigration to climate change and a more just foreign policy.
Critics, including the editorial board of the New York Times, have expressed discomfort with this display of executive power, and some have specifically labeled the orders divisive. But to whom? For millions of Americans, the new president’s executive actions are the much-needed first steps to helping a nation heal from the deep wounds of the Trump era, with policy that again reflects public will. Indeed, in a Feb. 7 survey analyzing 29 actions, the vast majority of the decisions enjoy broad support. Mandating mask use, reinstating COVID-19 travel restrictions, extending the moratoriums on eviction, extending the freeze on student loan payments, and increasing food stamp benefit, among others, enjoy more than two-thirds support.
So, rather than divide Americans, as conventional wisdom might have it, these actions are a powerful and necessary precondition for unifying Americans. Unity to me is not defined by whether senators in Washington, D.C. are getting along. Unity to me is whether my daughter and I are welcome in the United States, and are once again included in the American story.