“It’s a wonderful opportunity to see American democracy in action,” Rev. Paul Messner said when asked why he's attending Monday’s inauguration of President Barack Obama.
The Worcester resident is pastor of the Otsego County Lutheran Parish, though he is attending as a private individual. He is one of two area residents interviewed Saturday who will be at the event in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Several others who will remain here shared their opinion about what they are expecting from Obama's second term.
Messner said he has been attending the quadrennial ceremony since 1973, when he was a political science major at American University. He attended in 1977 as a seminary student at Gettysburg and every time since.
“I am a political junkie," he said about why always attends. He will be going with two area students who responded to an invitation he regularly makes.
He looks forward to the whole experience. “It’s a great time to be in Washington, D.C.,” though not because of the weather, which can be cold this time of year, he said.
It won’t be as dramatic as Obama’s first swearing-in, he said. It doesn’t matter about a person’s affiliation, and Messner did not want to identify his, but it was “very emotional” to witness the first African-American president take office, he said.
With divided government in Washington, he expected the next four years will be “contentious.” He is always hopeful it will be different, but he is also a realist, he said.
Former Oneonta Mayor Kim Muller, a Democrat, said she will be at the nation’s capital for the events. This is the fourth inauguration she will be attending, including Obama’s first term and both terms of Bill Clinton.
“It’s a great celebration” and she is looking forward to attending some museums and inauguration-related activities, she said.