For those on the left and right who welcomed Biden’s election, the inaugural transition seemed like the moment to finally leave behind the psychological toll of the deception, bullying, and deadly incompetence that characterized the Trump administration. (Trump supporters were on a different path, moving from hopeful to distraught.) If that sense of liberation seemed short-lived, however, there’s a reason: Multiple, life-threatening crises still dominate everyday life.
Vaccines aren’t reaching people fast enough, which means the pandemic will likely persist into the summer. Millions of people slipped into poverty in the last year, forcing families to go hungry and become homeless. At least a third of voters still falsely believe that Biden wasn’t legitimately elected. Right-wing militia and white supremacist movements are dedicated to rejecting America’s multiracial democracy. Racial inequality remains a defining feature of American life for Black, brown, and indigenous people, even if the Biden administration has begun acting on its promises to create systemic equity. Meanwhile, researchers again confirmed that earth’s ice sheets are melting at an alarming pace.
Roxane Cohen Silver, a professor of psychological science, medicine, and public health at the University of California, Irvine, believes that people’s well-being today must be seen in the context of what transpired in the past year, regardless of whether they feel more hopeful with a new administration.
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