Turning a page: Locals sound off on pending inauguration

  • A giant portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. gazes into the distance from behind the A.P.E. Gallery window in downtown Northampton. The holiday for MLK Jr.’€™s birthday is clouded by an uneasy presidential transition and threats of sectarian violence at the nation’s capitol. FOR THE GAZETTE/Sabato Visconti

  • “€œI’€™m pretty excited for the inauguration,” said Emily Turner of Boston. “I think I’€™m very encouraged by the social media platforms eliminating a lot of the vitriol and misinformation coming out. I think addressing coronavirus and sowing the surge is the number one thing I’€™d like to see change.” FOR THE GAZETTE/Sabato Visconti

  • Josh Martin of Springfield says he’s more relieved than scared about Inauguration Day. He also looks forward to Biden as president. “I think it’€™s going to make a big different to see experts in cabinet positions. I’€™m not sure how progressive it’s going to be, but especially having someone that is pro-environment, that’€™s an area that’€™s been severely lacking over the past four years.” FOR THE GAZETTE/Sabato Visconti

  • Joseph Scholl of Waltham looks forward to President-elect Joe Biden’s taking office. FOR THE GAZETTE/Sabato Visconti

  • Kirby Grimley of Northampton is relieved that Trump is leaving office this week, and that people will come together. “He did so much damage ... I’™m a firm believer that fear does not accomplish anything.” FOR THE GAZETTE/Sabato Visconti

  • While she is glad that Joe Biden is taking office, Claudia Breed of Longmeadow feel like there’€™s “gonna be a lot of animosity” because of the Capitol riots. “The riots were really scary, really crazy, but they led to realizations on both sides that this is intolerable, this is an embarrassment.” FOR THE GAZETTE/Sabato Visconti

  • “€œI feel scared t hat something is gonna happen, with what happened on the 6th. But I’€™m excited and relieved Trump won’€™t be president anymore,” says Tiffany Corlin of Springfield. FOR THE GAZETTE/Sabato Visconti

Staff Writer
Published: 1/17/2021 9:17:40 PM

NORTHAMPTON — For many in western Massachusetts, the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday signals hope, though others say they will be glad to move on.

“It’s a relief to have Trump gone,” Northampton resident Kirby Grimley said during an interview in downtown Northampton on Sunday. “He did so much damage. I’m hoping people will come together.”

Others interviewed in Northampton, such as Tiffany Corlin of Springfield, are looking forward to Biden’s inauguration, but harbor some anxiety about disruptions or unrest.

“I feel scared that something is going to happen, with what happened on (Jan.) 6th,” Corlin said, referring to the insurrection at the Capitol earlier this month by Trump supporters. “But I’m excited and relieved Trump won’t be president anymore.”

While Grimley is not stressed about the inauguration, she feels that her mindset is in the minority. Trump has heightened fear over his presidency, she said, and “people are terrified.”

Those who spoke with the Gazette on Sunday widely shared either Grimley or Corlin’s sentiments.

But not all are looking forward to Biden taking the oath of office on Wednesday: Speaking on the inauguration, Northampton resident Joseph Tarantino said that he’ll “be glad when it’s over.”

Tarantino said that while he acknowledges Biden as the new president and wishes him the best, “I don’t for a minute trust him, I don’t think he’s smart enough or capable enough to be anything more than a puppet, and I’m a little concerned about who his handlers are.”

Tarantino also doubts that Democrats are interested in unifying the country, he said, adding that many Republicans feel silenced and condemned. He is “waiting for Mr. Biden to show me he’s interested in unifying the country,” but does not believe that Biden’s actions so far have shown this as a goal of his incoming administration.

Josh Martin of Springfield said that he’s “more excited than scared” for the inauguration.

Martin is “not sure how progressive it’s going to be” under Biden’s administration, but is particularly looking forward to seeing Biden take a stronger stance on environmental protection.

“That’s an area that’s been severely lacking over the past four years,” Martin said. The environment isn’t the only area where he is expecting improvement — “You name it, I think it will be better” with Biden in office, he said. Part of this confidence comes from Biden appointing experts to his cabinet and task forces, Martin added.

Corlin said she is also heartened to see greater diversity among Biden’s picks, noting Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as a particularly welcome addition.

Emily Turner of Boston said that she has “no anxieties, just excitement” for Biden’s inauguration.

Like others who spoke with the Gazette, Turner said that she looks forward to seeing Biden’s administration “addressing coronavirus and slowing the surge” of the virus.

Turner is “very encouraged by the social media platforms eliminating a lot of the vitriol and misinformation coming out,” she said, adding that these measures will likely help to prevent further unrest.

Following the Jan. 6 insurrection, which occurred after Trump called for his supporters to gather and demand Congress overturn election results, numerous social media and broadcast outlets banned Trump’s accounts or deleted groups known for language that encourages violence in support of Trump. Twitter, speaking in line with outlets such as Reddit, Twitch and Facebook, cited “the risk of further incitement of violence” in making the decision.

On Jan. 15, the U.S. Defense Department also stated that up to 25,000 service members will provide security at the Biden’s inauguration.

Claudia Breed of Longmeadow said that she will be “happy that Biden is finally in office” and was glad to see Trump impeached.

“The Capitol riots were really scary, really crazy,” Breed said, but she believes that they led to “realizations on both sides (that) this is intolerable, this is an embarrassment.”

Biden is not Breed’s ideal candidate, she said, but she is hopeful he will “send a message to the U.S. just by being in office and putting his foot down,” and that Biden will take action on climate change. Breed is also glad to see Biden bring Kamala Harris to office.

Waltham resident Joseph Scholl, who was visiting with family in Northampton, said that it’s “sad that we have to have 25,000 troops to make it safe.” Scholl also finds it worrying that “there are still a lot of people who think this election was stolen.” Despite losing the electoral and popular votes in November, Trump has continuously made false claims that voter fraud influenced the results.

Going forward, Scholl says that there is still work to be done to hold Trump accountable. Scholl wants to see the Senate convict Trump in his impeachment trial, and for Trump to be barred from running for office again.

But Scholl’s immediate reaction to Trump leaving the White House was one of relief: “Thank fing God.”

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.

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