Usually, I am not surprised by the reactions of liberals to anything a conservative president might say. But I was dumbfounded by some of the reactions I heard from the Left over President Bush's Inuagural Address. You would think, from their response, that the Cold War had been won by the Communists and freedom had been banned from polite conversation.
Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer from California took time off from slandering Condoleezza Rice to say she was "troubled and confused" by Bush's speech. What troubled Senator Boxer and a good portion of her colleagues about the speech? Was it Bush's statement that "it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in the world?" Or maybe they were troubled when Bush said, "Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave."
Thankfully, I can't think like a liberal so I can't imagine any troubling parts of the presidents soaring defense of freedom and his unwavering commitment to the oppressed. But I think I can tell you where this speech was NOT troubling.
It was NOT troubling to those who languish in Castro's gulags or to those in China who long to determine their own destiny.
It was NOT troubling to those who labor under the watchful eye of their cruel masters in North Korea.
It was NOT troubling to the millions of souls who live under tyrannical dictators around the world who long to breathe the fresh, clean air of self determination.
The president's address was deeply troubling to despots and dictators. I am sure many of the Mullahs in Iran lost sleep on Thursday night knowing that if the president's vision of freedom ever spreads across the border from Iraq their day will be over.
The president's address was deeply troubling to those who think the United States is still a paper tiger who lacks the resolve to stand for freedom in the world.
It was deeply troubling to KIM Jong Il, who believes he can continue to dangle the United States on a political string by playing a dangerous game of nuclear cat and mouse. It was troubling to the leaders of Al Qaeda, who use fear and intimidation to bring their enemies as well as their followers into submission.
I am sure all of these were deeply troubled when the president said, "All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you." Standing for liberty around the world with those who are trying to shake off their oppressors is now a troubling and confusing ideal to liberals.
I wonder if the late Rev. Martin Luther King would have considered the president's speech to be troubling or confusing? Rev. King was known to speak of freedom from time to time. In his "I Have A Dream" speech King said, "From, every mountainside, let freedom ring." In fact, Rev. King asked for freedom to ring no less than eleven times and he linked the freedom of blacks and whites together when, speaking of the presence of whites at the historic rally he said, "their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom." Is it possible that Rev. Martin Luther King understood, as does President Bush, that freedom, because it bubbles up in every human heart, is what binds us as Americans?
What about the people of Afghanistan, who for the first time in 5000 years of chaos, tribal fighting, and tyrannical rule went to the polls in droves and participated in the establishment of their own government? Do you think they were confused by the president's clear call to freedom?
Do you think the people of Iraq, many who are dying so they can have a chance at self determination, who will go to the polls in just a few days under the threat of death, were confused or troubled by the idea of freedom?
Some say the speech was ridiculous because it pays homage to the impossible dream of world wide freedom which would lead to the death of terrorism. Tell that to the former leaders of the Soviet Union who beleived President Reagan's calls for the end to the "evil empire" were just exercise in rhetoric.
It is when freedom loving people back up or fail to keep their promises, that tyranny wins the day. History bears witness to this fact when you remember the Cuban resistance that died at the Bay of Pigs because President Kennedy backed up on a promise of air support.
The same thing happened when the U.S. backed away from South Vietnam refusing to honor the Paris Peace Accord that called for our reengagement if chaos reigned after our withdrawal. Freedom lost and over 2 million people were murdered by the Communists.
What about the Kurds in northern Iraq after the Gulf War? Bush 41 promsied them support if they would overthrow Saddam but no support came and they were slaughtered.
No Senator Boxer, I am not troubled nor am I confused by the President's Inaugural Address. I believe as long as George W. Bush is president, freedom will ring and it will never run in the face of terror or tyranny.