President Barack Obama's inaugural address offered what can only be viewed as a promise to change course on the interplay between national security and individual rights. The choice between safety and "our ideals," he said, was a false one. He celebrated the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and the expansion of the founding document "by the blood of generations" -- a reference, perhaps, to the post-Civil War amendments, in particular the 14th Amendment. The passage from his address:
"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more. "