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Give Bush another try

It is early to dismiss the next term as a repetition of the last one, writes Binay Kumar.
PTI | By Binay Kumar, California
UPDATED ON JAN 20, 2005 07:55 PM IST

Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. - President Eisenhower

By the time this gets published on Thursday chances are most of the action being reported here may have hit television screens across the world; all the more reason why this momentous occasion-and the mood surrounding it-needs to be recorded for posterity, for not even the calamitous trail of the Asian tsunami has dampened the spirits of angry and upset Americans who see the inauguration of a second term for Bush as equally catastrophic.

I asked a neighbour of mine why this mattered anymore now that the next four years are clearly sealed for good. His answer was quite insightful. He said: "That is the point… nothing that this administration has done in the past inspires any confidence or hope for betterment in the future."

Before we go into the details, here’s some Inauguration Trivia. With the following words, the President will take the oath of office:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

The 35-word oath of office, as mandated by the US Constitution, has remained unchanged since George Washington was first sworn in on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City on April 30, 1789.

From Washington’s second inauguration through 1921, the swearing in took place on March 4 to allow for electors from the states time to submit their votes. Technological improvements in communications and transportation since then have led to the date change, as was approved by the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

After completing the debut oath, Washington uttered the words "so help me God". Each subsequent president has also added those words, although they do not appear in the oath prescribed by the Constitution.

Apart from the oath itself, the Bible is integral to the administration of the oath by the Chief Justice who in this case, despite his battle with thyroid cancer, will be Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. Only seven of the 63 presidential oaths have been given by someone other than the Supreme Court’s chief justice.

Though this event is not making headlines, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert will administer the vice-presidential oath immediately before the presidential oath. It will be the fourth time a House speaker has sworn in the Vice-President.

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