Obama publicly begins his second term


Photo courtesy of CNN

President Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president for his second term Jan. 21.

Lissandra Villa

WASHINGTON- “We the people” easily could have been President Obama’s inauguration theme.

Although “Faith in America’s Future” was the official slogan, a sense of unity as a country was the motif that resonated throughout America’s 57th presidential inauguration.

On Monday, Jan. 21, President Barack Obama publicly took the Oath of Office for his second term.

The official number of inauguration attendees has yet to be released, but it is believed that attendance may have exceeded the estimated figures of 500,000 to 700,000.

Despite the possibility that those numbers may have been surpassed, the crowd was indisputably much smaller than at Obama’s first inauguration. Regardless of the number, people from all over the nation and world showed up to witness the historic event.

“I came out here because it was a great opportunity,” said Alyssa Rodriguez, a 26-year-old resident of Iowa City. “My favorite part of today was being able to be closer than last time and actually having a nice view … just the camaraderie of the crowd; that was also really good.”

The crowd, made up of a lot of visitors like Rodriguez, cheered as notable people emerged from the Capitol, among them the Obama family, former president Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former president Jimmy Carter.

Eventually, other high profile figures also appeared, including Myrlie Evers-Williams, Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, Richard Blanco and Luis Leon.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic to administer the Oath of Office, swore Vice President Joe Biden into office.

A James Taylor performance of “America the Great” separated the vice president’s and the president’s oaths of office.

Upon conclusion of the song, Chief Justice John Roberts swore President Obama in for his second term using the Bible used to swear Abraham Lincoln into office and another that belonged to Martin Luther King Jr., both significant to the event in their own way.

Lincoln’s Bible was meant to bring to mind the 150-year anniversary of the completion of the Capitol Dome and the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Bible brought the fact that the public swearing-in ceremony fell on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The future overshadowed the past that was recalled in many aspects of the inauguration ceremony.

Obama continued the trend in his inaugural address by reminding the crowd of the past in order to move forward in the future, by carrying a “we the people” theme that began after quoting the Declaration of Independence.

The president used his speech to address an array of issues, among them global climate change, health care, foreign policy and the economy.

“We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future,” Obama said.

With all eyes on the president, American citizens, including Iowa State students, can’t help but ask how a second term for Obama will affect them.

According to Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, the answer lies in the economy.

“The next four years, and how we set up our economy, is going to mean a lot on whether the college student of today, the graduate today, will be able to have the kind of life that my generation had when I graduated from Iowa State,” Harkin said.

Clashing political views were set aside in Washington, D.C. and around the nation as Americans united to witness a transfer of power that was peaceful, a unique aspect of American government pointed out during the inauguration.