January 14, 2009
East End Gears Up For Inauguration
It's a brand new day – a time for change.
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As Inauguration Day approaches, across the East End, gleeful supporters of president-elect Barack Obama are planning to party down on Inauguration Day.
And, come Tuesday, party they will: celebrations are planned across the East End. In addition, scores of supporters are planning on traveling to Washington D.C. to see the event firsthand.
Linda Shapiro, a devoted Obama supporter since day one, has hosted five events during the days leading up to Obama's victory – and has big plans for the inauguration. "I was the original Obama Mama," she said.
Shapiro, who is hosting a celebration at her East Hampton home, plans to serve "all of Obama's favorite foods," including his very own recipe for chili. "He loves chili, he loves shrimp and grits, and he loves pizza," she said. "So it's going to be a very eclectic but elegant meal."
Over the past year, Shapiro has embraced the campaign, inviting scores of supporters to share her mission. Her most recent celebration, when Obama won the election, sported over 300 jubilant celebrants in her home. "It was incredible," she said.
Obama fever, said Shapiro, "transcends the East End. It's Obama fever internationally."
The Southampton Democratic Committee has big plans for the big day, said party chair Gordon Herr. The celebration, which will be held at the Southampton Inn, will feature a sit-down dinner for 150. "We tried to keep the cost as low as possible, in order to be as inclusive as possible," said Herr. The evening will feature music, "all upbeat and inspirational," and dancing, as well as performers.
Those East End residents fortunate enough to be able to attend the inauguration expressed excitement as the day approaches.
"I am most certainly going," said Quogue resident Linne Diehl, who received two tickets from Congressman Tim Bishop. "I was a 60s activist and I am so thrilled to still be around to see this history," she said. "I rode buses, I sat at lunch counters, I marched in Chicago when the Black Panthers were there. I am so thrilled that Obama has been elected."
For supporters who will be in the nation's capital for the event, Bishop and Congressman Steve Israel will be co-hosting a viewing reception from 11:30-1:30 January 20 in the Rayburn House Office building of the Capitol complex. The reception is open to any First District residents attending the inauguration ceremonies including those who do not have tickets.
"The peaceful transfer of power, which the presidential inauguration represents, is a powerful demonstration of our Democratic ideals. This year's historic inauguration will bring together millions of Americans to celebrate our common values and shared hopes for a new direction for America," said Bishop.
Diehl said she will participate with the American Dance Therapy Association, which is sponsoring an event at locations around the country, the day before the inauguration.
Just as Obama reached many of his constituents electronically over the Internet, opening the door for new participatory government, a new wave of supporters will be celebrating in their living rooms this Inauguration Day, organizing private parties at home with the help of the guidelines found on Obama's moveon.com election site.
Quogue resident Nancy Mullan will be hosting a "move on" event. "We worked very hard and we feel we're totally responsible for Obama's victory!" she laughed.
Hosting three "call" parties, Mullan and other dedicated Obama supporters made over 2000 calls, many of them to "battleground states" such as Virginia, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. After Obama won, she held a victory party to celebrate. "It just seems natural to have an inauguration party, too," she said. 'We're just so happy that he won."
Mullan's party will feature a life size Obama cut-out for photo ops.
What does Obama's victory mean for the United States? "I get teary thinking about it," said Mullan. "My personal feeling is we've had eight years that were just disastrous for this country. And as Obama titled his book, now we have the audacity to hope."
The swearing-in of the President of the United States occurs upon the commencement of a new term of a President of the United States. The United States Constitution mandates that the President make the following oath or affirmation before he or she can "enter on the Execution" of the office of the presidency:
Obama will recite the same oath every U.S. president has, though the last four words, first uttered by George Washington, are said to be a "personal prayer" and not part of the official oath.
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States (So help me God)."
The swearing-in traditionally takes place at noon; Inauguration Day was in March until 1937, when it was switched to January 20. There is precedence to move the ceremony inside the Capitol Building in the case of inclement weather – Ronald Reagan did so in 1985.
Following the event the new President will host no fewer than 10 official balls being held in his honor, with luminaries from all walks of life attending and/or performing. In a sign that life as we know it has dramatically been altered forever, the Grateful Dead have been asked to play at one of the events by Obama's team – Tie-dye tuxedos are optional. Leave your doobies at home.