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I do take courage from words I find elsewhere, and don't feel quite as insolated when I read how others see the world situation. Hoping this is true for other Indy readers, I send this commentary from Vermont.
Brattleboro Reformer

Another long four years

Saturday, January 22, 2005 - Did anyone notice the irony during President Bush's inaugural address on Thursday that as Bush talked about freedom, security personnel were dragging away peaceful protesters?

Does this mean that the president's words -- "when you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you" -- do not apply to those who oppose him?

President Bush used the word "freedom" 27 times in his speech and "liberty" 15 times. It's not a surprise that the words "war," "Iraq," "Iran" and "terror" were not used at all. Then again, the hallmark of the Bush administration has been high-minded rhetoric and sordid deeds.

The president said that "it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation." Does this mean we'll see free and fair elections in Saudi Arabia, our second-largest oil supplier? Or in China, the country that now is the United States' biggest creditor?

The president said, "We will widen retirement savings and health insurance." Does this mean he will drop his insane idea to privatize Social Security and perhaps consider universal health care for all Americans?

The president said that he believes in "the durable wisdom of the Constitution." Does this mean he will dismantle the Patriot Act and stop appointing judges who want to roll back our civil liberties?

We know the answers to these questions: He won't.

President Bush has no intention of living up to his rhetoric. He won't "make our society more just and equal" -- not when he just spent more than $40 million on an opulent inauguration.

He won't use America's influence "competently in freedom's cause." Not when our nation's blood and treasure is being sucked away by a needless war in Iraq.

As for his noble words that "life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs," we know that our nation has been fed a steady diet of fear and paranoia. If courage really triumphs, the president wouldn't have to hide behind phalanxes of soldiers, cops and Secret Service agents and our capitol would not have to be transformed into an armed camp.

No, Thursday's inaugural address was just the latest in a long line of empty words coming from the lips of an empty man. It's going to be a long four years for America and the rest of the world.

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