Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

George W. Bush's First Inaugural Address, Januray 20, 2000:

President George W. Bush's Inaugural Address

January 20, 2001

President Clinton, distinguished guests and my fellow citizens, the peaceful transfer of authority is rare in history, yet common in our country. With a simple oath, we affirm old traditions and make new beginnings.

As I begin, I thank President Clinton for his service to our nation.

And I thank Vice President Gore for a contest conducted with spirit and ended with grace.

I am honored and humbled to stand here, where so many of America's leaders have come before me, and so many will follow.

We have a place, all of us, in a long story--a story we continue, but whose end we will not see. It is the story of a new world that became a friend and liberator of the old, a story of a slave-holding society that became a servant of freedom, the story of a power that went into the world to protect but not possess, to defend but not to conquer.

It is the American story--a story of flawed and fallible people, united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals.

The grandest of these ideals is an unfolding American promise that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born.

Americans are called to enact this promise in our lives and in our laws. And though our nation has sometimes halted, and sometimes delayed, we must follow no other course.

Through much of the last century, America's faith in freedom and democracy was a rock in a raging sea. Now it is a seed upon the wind, taking root in many nations.

Our democratic faith is more than the creed of our country, it is the inborn hope of our humanity, an ideal we carry but do not own, a trust we bear and pass along. And even after nearly 225 years, we have a long way yet to travel.

While many of our citizens prosper, others doubt the promise, even the justice, of our own country. The ambitions of some Americans are limited by failing schools and hidden prejudice and the circumstances of their birth. And sometimes our differences run so deep, it seems we share a continent, but not a country.

We do not accept this, and we will not allow it. Our unity, our union, is the serious work of leaders and citizens in every generation. And this is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity.

I know this is in our reach because we are guided by a power larger than ourselves who creates us equal in His image.

And we are confident in principles that unite and lead us onward.

America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these principles. Every citizen must uphold them. And every immigrant, by embracing these ideals, makes our country more, not less, American.

Today, we affirm a new commitment to live out our nation's promise through civility, courage, compassion and character.

America, at its best, matches a commitment to principle with a concern for civility. A civil society demands from each of us good will and respect, fair dealing and forgiveness.

Some seem to believe that our politics can afford to be petty because, in a time of peace, the stakes of our debates appear small.

But the stakes for America are never small. If our country does not lead the cause of freedom, it will not be led. If we do not turn the hearts of children toward knowledge and character, we will lose their gifts and undermine their idealism. If we permit our economy to drift and decline, the vulnerable will suffer most.

We must live up to the calling we share. Civility is not a tactic or a sentiment. It is the determined choice of trust over cynicism, of community over chaos. And this commitment, if we keep it, is a way to shared accomplishment.

America, at its best, is also courageous.

Our national courage has been clear in times of depression and war, when defending common dangers defined our common good. Now we must choose if the example of our fathers and mothers will inspire us or condemn us. We must show courage in a time of blessing by confronting problems instead of passing them on to future generations.

Together, we will reclaim America's schools, before ignorance and apathy claim more young lives.

We will reform Social Security and Medicare, sparing our children from struggles we have the power to prevent. And we will reduce taxes, to recover the momentum of our economy and reward the effort and enterprise of working Americans.

We will build our defenses beyond challenge, lest weakness invite challenge.

We will confront weapons of mass destruction, so that a new century is spared new horrors.

The enemies of liberty and our country should make no mistake: America remains engaged in the world by history and by choice, shaping a balance of power that favors freedom. We will defend our allies and our interests. We will show purpose without arrogance. We will meet aggression and bad faith with resolve and strength. And to all nations, we will speak for the values that gave our nation birth.

America, at its best, is compassionate. In the quiet of American conscience, we know that deep, persistent poverty is unworthy of our nation's promise.

And whatever our views of its cause, we can agree that children at risk are not at fault. Abandonment and abuse are not acts of God, they are failures of love.

And the proliferation of prisons, however necessary, is no substitute for hope and order in our souls.

Where there is suffering, there is duty. Americans in need are not strangers, they are citizens, not problems, but priorities. And all of us are diminished when any are hopeless.

Government has great responsibilities for public safety and public health, for civil rights and common schools. Yet compassion is the work of a nation, not just a government.

And some needs and hurts are so deep they will only respond to a mentor's touch or a pastor's prayer. Church and charity, synagogue and mosque lend our communities their humanity, and they will have an honored place in our plans and in our laws.

Many in our country do not know the pain of poverty, but we can listen to those who do.

And I can pledge our nation to a goal: When we see that wounded traveler on the road to Jericho, we will not pass to the other side.

America, at its best, is a place where personal responsibility is valued and expected.

Encouraging responsibility is not a search for scapegoats, it is a call to conscience. And though it requires sacrifice, it brings a deeper fulfillment. We find the fullness of life not only in options, but in commitments. And we find that children and community are the commitments that set us free.

Our public interest depends on private character, on civic duty and family bonds and basic fairness, on uncounted, unhonored acts of decency which give direction to our freedom.

Sometimes in life we are called to do great things. But as a saint of our times has said, every day we are called to do small things with great love. The most important tasks of a democracy are done by everyone.

I will live and lead by these principles: to advance my convictions with civility, to pursue the public interest with courage, to speak for greater justice and compassion, to call for responsibility and try to live it as well.

In all these ways, I will bring the values of our history to the care of our times.

What you do is as important as anything government does. I ask you to seek a common good beyond your comfort; to defend needed reforms against easy attacks; to serve your nation, beginning with your neighbor. I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens, building communities of service and a nation of character.

Americans are generous and strong and decent, not because we believe in ourselves, but because we hold beliefs beyond ourselves. When this spirit of citizenship is missing, no government program can replace it. When this spirit is present, no wrong can stand against it.

After the Declaration of Independence was signed, Virginia statesman John Page wrote to Thomas Jefferson: ``We know the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm?''

Much time has passed since Jefferson arrived for his inauguration. The years and changes accumulate. But the themes of this day he would know: our nation's grand story of courage and its simple dream of dignity.

We are not this story's author, who fills time and eternity with his purpose. Yet his purpose is achieved in our duty, and our duty is fulfilled in service to one another.

Never tiring, never yielding, never finishing, we renew that purpose today, to make our country more just and generous, to affirm the dignity of our lives and every life.

This work continues. This story goes on. And an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm.

God bless you all, and God bless America.

1 posted on 10/30/2004 6:34:05 AM PDT by Phsstpok
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok; .45MAN

Bookmarked....thank you!

2 posted on 10/30/2004 6:38:32 AM PDT by dansangel (Vote like your life depends on it...because it does!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: ride the whirlwind


3 posted on 10/30/2004 6:38:38 AM PDT by quantim (Victory is not relative, it is absolute.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok

Thank you so much for this. Am crying. GW tells it like it is. No nuancing. No lies. God bless him and keep him safe. Wow, three more days.

4 posted on 10/30/2004 6:39:36 AM PDT by hershey
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok

I was there and as I looked around there were tears in the eyes of men with cowboy hats on and women fighting the biting cold to stand and applaud because we knew we had witnessed greatness. We appreciated this good man who was willing to state his belief that an angel would intervene in perilous times. It is why Bush will come to be regarded as one of the greatest presidents to lead America.

8 posted on 10/30/2004 6:54:54 AM PDT by dagnabit
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok

Dubya is one of those who actually read his philosophby assignments and knew what he was reading. He may turn out to be our first philosopher-statesman in a long time.

10 posted on 10/30/2004 7:21:07 AM PDT by RightWhale (Withdraw from the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty and establish property rights)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok

I love the allegory in that speech and the allusions to Jefferson.

11 posted on 10/30/2004 7:22:39 AM PDT by Samwise (Proud to be a Security Mom married to a NASCAR Dad)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok


13 posted on 10/30/2004 7:30:05 AM PDT by Just mythoughts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok
Thank you so much for posting this.
Free Republic has become my lifeline these past 2 months and I thank all of you for your posts. They are encouraging and uplifting during the times I have felt fear that Bush would not be re-elected.
I no longer fear.
14 posted on 10/30/2004 7:42:48 AM PDT by Sincerely
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok
"And maybe now his much maligned immigration policy can be understood a little. He actually believes this principle, these ideals. And he believes that these ideals are best served by applying them to all people that embraces those ideals, however they came to be here. He's been straight with us, from day one."

This is rather, pie in the sky, isn't it? An adult knows there is the way it ought to be, and then there is the way it is. Applying these ideals to "all people", places at real risk the balance in the nation between conservative representation, and socialist representation.

A Presidents best efforts should be towards the citizens of this nation, not assume there is an American waiting to be born in every person on earth and applying that assumption to his actions. There is precious little "conservative" representation in this nation as it is since Bush has redefined the Republican Party as a big government entity, importing or justifying illegal invasion of those who are proven to vote their bellies in not in the best interest of a free Republic.

Do I think Kerry should be elected? No. But I do not suffer the need to hero worship. Bush is a man, and any man is prone to error. Bush has been very up front also about his desire to see a "Free Trade Zone", from the north of Canada to the tip of Cape Horn". But is that necessarily a good thing? I don't think so.

Vicente Fox described their vision for the USofA this way, "The USofA, Mexico, and Canada WILL unite under one umbrella with U.S. wages dropping to meet Mexico's rising wage, and the rest of S. America joining later". This obviously has been discussed, hashed out, and agreed to and will be placed into existence by the FTAA treaty.

Already the claim is made that the jobs replacing the jobs lost to downsizing and off shoring are far from living wage jobs, half of which have been filled by immigrants. Bush has sought after and received the "Fast Track" ability to place a treaty for an up or down vote before the congress. Jan. 25th 2005, Bush will present the FTAA treaty before congress for an up or down vote.

If you think that GATT and NAFTA are horrors, the FTAA treaty is a real monster. I think it would be a good idea to begin calling congress on Wed. the 3rd, and keep up the pressure to defeat this treaty from the first hop out of the gate after the election.

It is my hope that those conservatives that are more interested in knowing what's going on and acting as responsible citizens, than hero worship, will burn up the phone lines and protect our sovereignty.

15 posted on 10/30/2004 7:45:42 AM PDT by MissAmericanPie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok

God Bless this man

17 posted on 10/30/2004 7:54:27 AM PDT by treeclimber ("We will hunt the terrorists in every dark corner of the earth. We will be relentless." GWB 2001)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok

I love this!!!
Praise the Lord, for this wonderful President!

20 posted on 10/30/2004 8:04:56 AM PDT by LadyPilgrim (Sealed my pardon with His blood, Hallelujah!!! What a Savior!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok
Great post. Let me add this, from the first inaugural address of an earlier President, also named George:
Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge.

In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency; and in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities from which the event has resulted can not be compared with the means by which most governments have been established without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage.

These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under the influence of which the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence.

Source: George Washington's First Inaugural Address.
21 posted on 10/30/2004 8:08:05 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok

You don't know how many times over these last four years that I thought of that phrase. It gladdens my heart to see that I'm not alone in that. I was in the midst of a family crisis on that day and I remember when he spoke that phrase it stilled my heart and gave me strength.

I am so glad that you posted this. I also said to myself there are probably angels perched on every building on Pennsylvania Avenue guarding this man, and I believe they guard him still. W and Laura are more beautiful people than when they took office. He is greyer but more handsome and Laura is so beautific she almost looks like an angel herself. I was watching their bio on earlier today and thought - they are beautiful - That Angel In The Whirlwind is bearing them up.

25 posted on 10/30/2004 9:24:25 AM PDT by TurtleStink
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok

"America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens..."GWB's Inaugral Address, 1-20-00

WHAT A GUY! God bless you, President Bush, and may the angels continue to protect you, Sir.

26 posted on 10/30/2004 9:35:34 AM PDT by Paperdoll (.........on the cutting edge - it isn't too late to wake up the lemmings!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok

Thank you for posting this. I will never forget that line either.

27 posted on 10/30/2004 10:42:48 AM PDT by Andy'smom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok; Bommer
Thanks for the kind and timely reminder.

When the man comes around -- -- Bommer's movie also speaks to this.

28 posted on 10/30/2004 10:55:33 AM PDT by cyn (Prayers always for Terri Schiavo and her family.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok Check out this thread.

30 posted on 10/30/2004 11:01:09 AM PDT by Preech1 (There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: Phsstpok

Thank you for posting this. Every time I think things are FUBAR this quote comes to mind.

32 posted on 01/11/2007 7:33:25 PM PST by swheats
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson