So here we are, Obama’s second inaugural. Not exactly a day for rejoicing.
But I take heart in recalling the aching confusion on the faces of my liberal friends back in January 2005 when President George W. Bush laid out the Freedom Agenda with his second inaugural address. Bush’s words, aimed at foreign tyrants and the world’s oppressed, should comfort those of us here at home who fear that the “fundamental transformation” promised by Barack Obama will forever alter both the nature of our republic and the character of its people:
Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it.
Let's hope it comes soon.
Whatever you call yourself—conservative, Republican, libertarian, free-marketeer, center-rightist, pro-lifer, foreign-policy hawk, American exceptionalist—this will not be a fun day. There will be slogans and straw men to beat the band. We will no doubt hear about the forces of progress and those who stand against it out of narrow self-interest. We’ll surely be reminded how far we've come and that we don’t want to turn back now.
But while hunting up the above George W. Bush quotation, however, I stumbled upon this, from the March 1925 inaugural address of ol' Silent Cal himself:
We can not permit ourselves to be narrowed and dwarfed by slogans and phrases. It is not the adjective, but the substantive, which is of real importance. It is not the name of the action, but the result of the action, which is the chief concern.
The bad news? Four more years.
The good news? Only four more years.