While perhaps lacking some of the rhetorical flourishes that headline writers love, President Bush’s second inaugural address about freedom and human dignity was relentless in its focus, nonpartisan in its tone, magisterial in its aim, and ennobling in its call. The president has asked us to live up to our republic’s highest ideals–not only for ourselves, but for others. Freedom is a gift not just for the privileged few, but for all. Compassion and common sense require that we share it. “It is the honorable achievement of our fathers,” Bush said. “Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time.” Are we ready to answer the call? Can we afford not to be?