Why Did You Come to Obama’s Second Inauguration?

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Jan. 21 2013 6:35 PM

Why Did You Come to Obama’s Second Inauguration?

The first one was history-making. So, why did people make the trip for Obama’s second inauguration?

There’s no going back to 2009. President Obama’s first inauguration was one for the record books. People traveled to see the country’s first black president take the oath of office. They came looking for “hope and change.” But, after four bruising years and with political partisanship off the charts, why bother with the second inaugural?  

Ryan Diehl and a friend on the Mall
Ryan Diehl, right, and a friend on the Mall

EMMA ROLLER/Slate.

Ryan Diehl, 23, Hays, Kan.

"I have friends that live up here and decided to come up for the inauguration. … Not necessarily celebrating, but just to experience it.”

Judah Shapiro
Judah Shapiro

EMMA ROLLER/Slate.

Judah Shapiro, 56, Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

“I think the second inauguration is almost as important as the first one. ... In a way, it's as important because the rejection if he would have lost, it would have set back things in a really bad way. It would have been misinterpreted as people not supporting progressive policies."

Fern Gray
Fern Gray

EMMA Roller/Slate.

Fern Gray, 28, Trinidad and Tobago

“Given the difficulties of the past four years, I think it shows that folks here support the mandate that he has and are willing to really be behind all the policies that he wants to get done in the next four years.”

Mac Ahmed
Mac Ahmed

EMMA ROLLER/Slate.

Mac Ahmed, Atlanta, Ga.

“Fun! Enjoyment."

The Cooley family
The Cooley family

EMMA ROLLER/Slate.

Deliska Cooley, 39; Sydni Cooley, 13; Skyla Cooley, 11; Munford, Ala.

"Basically we wanted to bring the girls to be a part of history. We came four years ago, and they were too small, and so we decided to bring them this time."

Michelle Williams Anthony Martin Sweet
Michelle Williams (left), her grandson Anthony Martin Sweet (front), and family and friends attend the festivities on the Mall.

EMMA ROLLER/Slate.

Michelle Williams, 51, Seattle

“This is historic, and it's more historic that I get to bring my grandson. To share this event with him, witness it with him—that means a lot because it's something that he'll remember always and I'll remember always."

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Science

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

We Could Fix Climate Change for Free. Now There’s Just One Thing Holding Us Back.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 7:03 PM Once Again, a Climate Policy Hearing Descends Into Absurdity
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 17 2014 6:53 PM LGBTQ Luminaries Honored With MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 5:56 PM Watch Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle, Bill Hicks, Mitch Hedberg, and More on New YouTube Channel
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 7:23 PM MIT Researchers Are Using Smartphones to Interact With Other Screens
  Health & Science
Jurisprudence
Sept. 17 2014 4:49 PM Schooling the Supreme Court on Rap Music Is it art or a true threat of violence?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?