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Inauguration Day 2005


The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

Today [January 20], in Washington, D.C., President George W. Bush will repeat the oath he took at his first inauguration in January 2001. That oath was administered by William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court:

[Chief Justice] "I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear. . . .[Mr. Bush] I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear. . . .[Chief Justice]. . . .that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States. . . .[Mr. Bush]. . . .that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States. . . .[Chief Justice]. . . .and will to the best of my ability. . . .[Mr. Bush]. . . .and will to the best of my ability. . . .[Chief Justice]. . . .preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. . . .[Mr. Bush]. . . .preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. . . .[Chief Justice]. . . .so help me God. [Mr. Bush]. . . .so help me God."

For more than two-hundred years, this oath has sealed the transfer of power and the wishes of Americans as expressed every four years at the ballot box. In taking this oath, the President of the United States affirms his loyalty to the Constitution. Whatever his personal feelings, party loyalty, or religious convictions, the president is bound to follow the provisions of this fundamental law. Should he fail in this duty, he, like other government officials, can be impeached and removed from office, pursuant to the terms of the U.S. Constitution.

From the beginning, the United States has been, in the words of John Adams, the second U.S. president, a "government of laws and not of men." By subordinating political power to the rule of law, Americans have ensured the protection of their rights and the survival of their freedom. As President George Washington said at his first inauguration, "the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government [democracy] are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, and finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."

Inauguration Day is more than the inauguration of an elected leader. It is a process and a spirit. It is democracy in action.

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