Celebration and Dissent

The Inauguration is as close as America comes to a coronation

The day of pageants and protest and prayer and 10,000 No Parking signs is as close as America comes to a coronation day. What is typically crowned is not so much a prince as a promise, for what the next four years might bring. President Bush stretched that tradition far past the horizons of his second term. His goal, he declared, was nothing less than freeing every human being on Earth. "It is the urgent requirement of our nation's security," he said, "and the calling of our time."

No longer running for anything other than history's judgment, George W. Bush delivered...