Presidential transition brings relief, uneasiness, bitterness
Posted January 20, 2021 6:22 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — President Joe Biden's inauguration and the start of a new administration in the U.S. elicited a range of emotions in Triangle residents on Wednesday.
“I do think it’s going to be a trying time. We have a lot more tests ahead of us as a nation," said Dane Elixson, of Raleigh. "This is the most polarized I have seen [the nation] in my lifetime.”
Biden comes into office as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage after already claiming 400,000 lives in the U.S., the calls for racial justice continue to grow and political nerves are raw after a riot at the U.S. Capitol that former President Donald Trump egged on with repeated claims of a stolen election.
“The last four years have been interesting," said a Raleigh man who identified himself only as Adrian. "There’s a sense of nervousness by, I think, all parties. ... I don’t want our rights to be taken away.”
Zachary Bentley, of Raleigh, said government has gotten too controlling and needs to be reined in.
"They usually end up with a very lustful thirst for power, and once they receive power, they tend to not let it go," Bentley said. "[They want] to limit your freedoms of travel, to limit where you go, where you can and cannot be."
“I just never though it would get this bad domestically," said Becky Law, of Raleigh. "We have to have hope. I’ve had many moments where I didn’t, but if we don’t have hope, then we might as well move."
"I feel like this horrible darkness that’s happened to this county, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel now,” said Allison Finarelli, of Raleigh. "I really feel like the weight of the world is off my shoulders for the first time in four years."
"I'm pretty concerned. I feel like we need to come together as people and get back to agree to disagree," Bentley said.
Juan Liceaga, of Zebulon, said addressing the pandemic and the economic problems it created are the most pressing issues for Biden.
“I'm hoping we can get back on the right track and be less divisive," Liceaga said. "We could go either way right now. I am anxious but hopeful that we will chose the right path."
Rev. William Barber, the former president of the state NAACP, who will deliver the homily at Thursday’s inaugural prayer service, also is hopeful.
"Hopefully, we are moving from the dark clouds of lies at the very top to the light of truth," Barber said.
"I do think this country can heal. I think it’s already happening, honestly," said Regina Davis, of Raleigh.
“How we heal and how we move forward, especially in the middle of a pandemic, is going to be really incumbent on the tone that is set with the new administration," Elixson said.