I'm feeling the warmth of the fire of freedom.

My mom won't be happy to hear this, but I skipped class this morning to watch the inauguration. I planned on taping it and hoping to get back in time to catch the end of the speech, but I just couldn't drag myself away from the TV. The pomp and circumstance and historical significance- all those power players in one place- is like pure crack cocaine for a political junkie like myself. I'm glad I stayed and watched the whole thing live; I experienced all the highs a Bush supporter has come to expect from his greatest moments: a few tears of pride, chills at the recongnition of truth and goodness, and those split seconds of terror when protesters get out of hand. (Does anybody else panic when they hear that stupid NBC Special Report Music? NBC: "Bum-ba-ba-ba-baduh-duh-duh..." Me: "THE PRESIDENT IS DEAD!! Oh please let it just be an earthquake!" I know, that's terrible. It's usually just a stupid press conference, anyway.)

If you missed the speech, you can read the full text here or watch clips at c-span.org. My favorite bits:

- "From all of you, I have asked patience in the hard task of securing America, which you have granted in good measure. Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world."

- "I ask our youngest citizens to believe the evidence of your eyes. You have seen duty and allegiance in the determined faces of our soldiers. You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs. Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself - and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character."

- "When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, "It rang as if it meant something." In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength - tested, but not weary - we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom."

Go read the whole thing, as they say.