The United States has exported many things over the nearly 229 years of our history. Some of those exports are good and some, not so good.
In his second inaugural address, President Bush made it clear he intends to make liberty America's No. 1 export in his second term. The president said, "We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."
So, liberty is not the sole possession or received blessing of one nation. It is to be shared, like alms for the poor or tsunami relief (search), with other souls yearning to breathe free.
A survey by a Washington think tank says 80 percent of Iraqis, including Sunnis (search), plan to vote in the Jan. 30 election. Nearly 65 percent believe their future will be more hopeful in five years, though they see problems between now and then. For these Iraqis, the promise of liberty has brought them hope.
In his address, the president answered his critics who say we should pull out of Iraq and that the post-war effort isn't going well. The president said, "America has need of idealism and courage, because we have essential work at home — the unfinished work of American freedom. In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty."
The president's father was famous for deriding "the vision thing." This President Bush has a vision. He thinks in bold terms and paints in broad strokes. History will judge whether he was right or wrong, but he is right to act on the noblest of ideas — that all men and women deserve to live in freedom, not bondage.
He will have many opponents, and not just in other countries, but here at home. Certain politicians do not want him to succeed because their own vision doesn't extend beyond themselves and their careers.
This is the boldest president we have had in a long time. It's going to be a fascinating four years.
And that's Column One for this week.
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Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America". Readers may email Cal Thomas at email@example.com.