Bush’s convictions, principles, and policy agenda were clearly outlined in his Second Inaugural Address. In a word, the man believes in freedom, and believes it his duty as president to protect it at home and promote it abroad.
His 24-minute speech reminded us of the vicious character of our enemies, the noble aspirations of our country, and his resolve to "advance the cause of freedom" as the most formidable challenge and opportunity of our time.
President Bush’s address was conservative in its principles, hearkening back to the timeless truths of the Declaration of Independence. But it was also daring in its acknowledgment of the need to reform "our great institutions" (think, Social Security, here) to meet the needs of our time.
To this American citizen, the hallmark of the speech was his quotation from an 1859 letter Abraham Lincoln wrote on the anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday:
"Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it."In his attempt to help every American become a stakeholder in American society, "an agent of his or her own destiny," our president shows his profound understanding of the glorious possibilities and challenges of human freedom. Moreover, Bush’s commitment to human freedom should serve as the starting point for all discussion of how he intends to address the mundane aspects of domestic policy and the sublime considerations of foreign policy. In sum, the president has announced an ambitious and worthy agenda for the next four years; may we do our best to fulfill the tasks he has set before us as a nation.