WASHINGTON — Presidents come and go from this city. Hosting inaugurations is nothing new. But for residents here, over 92 percent of whom voted for President-elect Barack Obama, his inauguration this month is special.
The day ushers in hopes and expectations for a president who speaks to local residents and brings with it the excitement of a predominantly black city welcoming the nation’s first black president.
With the inauguration scheduled for the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, the timing also strikes a chord for a city that was racked by riots after Dr. King’s assassination.
“For D.C., this inauguration is less like hosting a visiting official and more like throwing a homecoming party for a family member,” said Ronald Walters, professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland.
He added that normally, the inauguration is an exclusive black-tie affair. “This time,” he said, “it feels like the city has taken ownership of what is becoming a people’s party.”