By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – President Obama will be officially sworn in for his second term on Sunday and the public Inaugural festivities kick off on Monday morning.
In 2009, there was a groundswell of excitement surrounding the Inauguration of Barack Obama. It marked a change in America, a step forward after more than 400 years of racism against African-Americans.
While some of the excitement has waned in 2013, the significance is just as clear.
“We are not the same as we were in 2009. We are much more sober,” says Molefi Kete Asante, professor of African-American studies at Temple University. “The first Inauguration was historic, it was symbolic, it was soaring. I think the second one will be more pragmatic, more pointed, more intentional.”
Asante says many people pinned years of hope onto President Obama, hope that he would change the country in one swipe of his hand.
“Obama was not a savior in the first administration and he will not be a savior in the second,” says Asante. “Perhaps what he will be is an indication of what America can become.”
Penn history professor Thomas Sugrue says Obama’s first term was historic in part because of his race, but his second term is historic because he will become part of the minority of presidents to serve a second term despite his race.
“Barack Obama is only the second Democrat to be elected to a second term in office since Franklin Delano Roosevelt,” says Sugrue. “That is a testimony to his presidency and the growing shift of the democratic party nationwide.”
Sugrue says it’s also a sign of shift of power from the majority to a more diverse electorate.
“The democratic strategy for the past 30 years was to increase its appeal among suburban and non-urban white men and in 2012, we saw the fruits of a shift in strategy,” says Sugrue. “They held the white appeal, but they drew out more women and more minorities. And it was a successful strategy.”
Both Asante and Sugrue say Obama’s second term gives him the opportunity to solidify his legacy as one of the great American presidents.