FDR knew the dissonance of holding galas in Washington when the nation's sons and daughters in uniform were fighting in hostile lands.
That surely will be the case next month as Bush takes his second oath of office: U.S. forces in Iraq will still be battling (with insufficient armor and other supplies) a surprisingly strong insurgency.
No, these parties are not paid for with great stashes of public dollars. Soldiers won't get bulletproof vests paid for with the money saved unless the private donors want to use their dollars that way.
But inaugural festivities have little to do with the substance of democracy. They're all about symbolism.
Bush would show a keen sensitivity toward the situation of his soldiers by finally acknowledging that wartime demands true sacrifice a notion betrayed by his insistence on tax cuts.
That symbolism would be far greater than the grandest of balls.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
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