Truth is the beginning of wisdom…


Posted by straight shooter on January 27, 2005 under Political, War

The presidential inauguration is a moment that shows the world how freely elected governments work. But to my mind, the second inaugural address of George W. Bush was historic and memorable, for two major reasons.First, the president’s address focused on liberty and what it means to the world. This was the most idealistic and moralistic presidential message since Franklin Roosevelt summoned America to the heroic task of saving the world from tyranny in World War II. I know it cost other countries as well before and after they joined. This could very well be the reason that America is on the offensive and not on the defensive in these issues now, as they know their entrance into World War II should have happened sooner, and fewer lives would have been lost!

As President Bush was speaking, you could hear the words echoing Luke 4:18: “Proclaim liberty to the captives.” He talked about freeing the slaves of oppression. This was precisely the point made by John Kennedy in 1960 and the point made by the writers of the Declaration of Independence: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Building on that theme, President Bush correctly and eloquently said that there is no justice without freedom, no human rights without liberty. The very thoughts of John Wesley through which Orange Scott, Luther Lee, La Roy Sunderland, and Adam Crookes helped defeat and end slavery in America.

The speech was not only idealistic, it was also pragmatic. What Bush recognizes is that every attempt to paper over differences in the Middle East for the last fifty years has failed. The differences run too deep. So how can we help to solve the region’s problems? By the introduction, to its oppressed peoples, democracy and freedom. This is why troops are in harm’s way in Iraq – because if liberty and democracy come to that country, imperfect and dangerous though the process may be, Iraq can swing the balance of power in the Middle East toward democracy and freedom. This is why we must fervently pray for the success of this endeavour.

Second, the address marked an extraordinary moment for the conservative movement. President Bush is seizing the mantle of idealism from contemporary liberalism. In the twentieth century, the idea of spreading human liberty and defending human dignity was the cause of liberals, especially under Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy. At that point in time conservatism was primarily a reactionary political movement, unwilling to engage in bold, idealistic causes.

There has now been a complete role reversal. It is the conservatives who, led by President Bush, are summoning us to spread liberty, to free the slaves, to defend human dignity. This president is intent on shaping history, not impeding it. It’s the liberals who are reacting, unwilling to defend real liberty and freedom. For the most part the democrats are caught up promoting the very liberalism that is injuring America.

With this inspiring speech, President Bush has set America firmly on the course of pursuing liberty and justice throughout the world. I hope that all Americans, regardless of political party, are ready to respond to the president’s call to defend God’s gift of liberty for the oppressed. As President Bush phrased it, “Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself – and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character.”

May President Bush stand firm on all that he has said.