Freedom Doesn't Pay The Bills
In his inaugural address on Thursday, President Bush repeatedly invoked freedom and liberty, telling his fellow citizens that spreading liberty around the world was "the calling of our time."
The more direct needs of people back home got five presidential sentences. Mr. Bush never spoke about, say, the freedom of knowing that the rent will be paid, that the refrigerator will be full, that car payments or a round-trip subway ride won't be a burden. Health insurance got merely a glancing reference.
What was Purnick hoping to hear the President say:
My fellow Americans - at this second gathering, I now concede that my duties as President are defined not by the Constitution, but by the inspired and infallible New York Times.
For more than two centuries, America has defended its mistaken concept of freedom and liberty in senseless wars both here at home and in distant lands. We have held out our form of government and economy as a model for the world. How naive and arrogant.
I am now led, by events and the common sense of the New York Times, to one conclusion. The United States of America has been the greatest source of evil and tyranny the world has ever known. The best hope for peace in our world is for our misguided country to embark on years of sabbatical and repose - years of making amends and seeking the forgiveness of the world.
Today, you have my solemn pledge that I will begin the hard work of atoning for the sins I committed during my first term and for the unspeakable transgressions perpetrated by all that came before me.
On this day marked by ceremony, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world. From this day forward, it is the policy of the United States to seek the of permission of every movement, international institution, nation and culture for the right to exist and to humbly accept their considered verdict.
The great objective of ending our tyranny is the concentrated work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it, but thankfully the New York Times will be there to guide us every step of the way. The Time's influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, the Gray Lady's influence is considerable, and we will follow its wise policies confidently in our great cause.
Today, I also speak anew to my fellow citizens. After the shipwreck of my selection by the Supreme Court, came years of relative upheaval, years of poverty, years of wonton disregard of working families. It is time to focus on the direct needs of the people here at home. I have been made to see your vulnerability - and have come to understand its deepest source - our capitalist system.
I now realize there is only one force in history that can break the reign of greed and depravation inflicted upon the American people. That one force in history that has kindled the fire of hope in millions and that has warmed the hearts of those fortunate to live under its enlightened power – communism.
So let me now speak of true freedom – the freedom of knowing that the rent will be paid, that the refrigerator will be full, that car payments or a round-trip subway ride won't be a burden. A health insurance scheme that will afford access to the finest medical care system in the world. Freedom that can only come from government –freedom from want.
In America's new ideal of freedom, citizens will find the dignity and security of economic dependence, laboring for the good of all, each receiving according to their needs. This is the broader definition of liberty that has motivated the people of Cuba, China, North Korea and the former Soviet Union. And now we will extend this vision by reforming great institutions to serve the needs of our time.
By making every citizen an agent of the state, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear, and make our society more prosperous and just and equal. From all of you, I ask patience as we go about the hard task of dismantling our entire economy.
A few Americans have already agreed to accept the hardest duties in this cause - the essential work of propaganda ... the idealistic work of helping raise up collectives ... the dangerous and necessary work of striping people of all personal property and wealth. We will always be indebted to these freedom fighters, in awe of their superior intellegence and greatful they refused to be tools of a free market system. We will always remember their names.
We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of this new brand of American freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; but because the New York Times knows best. May God help the United States of America!