Nearly 800,000 people filled the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to witness the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. ESSENCE caught up with inauguration-goers to find out their views on the historic event, the state of the country and what they are looking forward to most in the next four years.
Enthusiastic supporters of President Barack Obama lined the streets of the capital on Monday to celebrate his inauguration and mark the beginning of his second term. “Hope” re-emerged as the buzzword of the moment along the parade route as one reveler after another voiced optimism about the way forward under a renewed presidency that many insisted Obama deserved more time to complete the job they elected, and re-elected, him to do.
If 2009 was the year of unbridled voter expectations in a historic presidency, 2013 will surely be a year grounded in the reality of housing and banking crisis, foreclosures and layoffs, sky-high unemployment and partisan gridlock. Many Obama supporters hold him blameless for much that went wrong over the last four years — problems created and left over by his predecessor, they say, and aggravated by a hostile political opposition — and believe he’s the man to fix things during the next four years.
And that’s where the hope comes in — only this time, it’s not based on blind faith in things unseen.
Between cheers and chants, cold winter chills and “just-being-here” thrills, the supporters who came out spoke thoughtfully but cautiously about their expectations for a second Obama term and offered a laundry list of agenda items they, yes, hoped for over the next four years.
They want more jobs, faster and wider implementation of the health care law and education reform that means fixing failing urban schools. They want more support for Black-owned businesses and more focus on economic disparities in the black community. They want the president to make addressing Black women’s health issues, especially the high rate of HIV-infection, a priority item.
Obama supporters believe he will get the job done because voters gave him the mandate to do so and made it clear that they’ve got his back.