THE PRESIDENT: Distinguished guests, fellow citizens, and future citizens: the grounds of this house, which saw so many changes during President Thomas Jefferson's lifetime provide an ideal setting to reflect on the history of our nation. We have progressed so far in so many ways since that day on which the Declaration of Independence was signed, in that distant time when slaves inhabited this place.
We have also progressed in dramatic ways since that horrific day on which the forces of evil and Islamic extremism flew airplanes into the World Trade Center. This is not the same world it was in 2001, and not the same nation it was in 1776. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson and the members of the Continental Congress complained of certain actions taken by the King of England which were not then justifiable.
For example, the Declaration charges the King as follows: "He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power." The King of England was under no threat from a global terror network. When danger approached, he saw it coming across the seas long before it arrived on England's shores. Immediate strikes and the instant mass-murder of men, women, and children with no warning was not then a reality. The dangers of residing in the Homeland of freedom during wartime in a global war on terror was unimaginable. And yet, the king saw fit to make military power as fast and flexible as a global war on terror would have required.
Jefferson also wrote of King George "He has…deprive(ed) us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury…transport(ed) us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences." This was a policy worthy of condemnation and swift reversal. The American colonists were struggling to bring forth a new nation, and they worked long and honest hours, resting on Sunday to study the holy word. Let us reflect on how times change. There are now in this world vast networks of men who would give their lives to harm American citizens and damage our freedoms. These are the worst of the worst, and the thought of sacrificing the safety of our citizens to bestow old-fashioned rights and processes on them would make no more sense than my having come down here from Washington in a horse and carriage. Never, ever will I endanger the citizens of this great nation by blindly adhering to outdated standards and misplaced proprieties. (Applause.)
King George III, like myself, was the third man named George to rule his nation. According to the Declaration of Independence, he "erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance." It is time we set the record straight. George was a wartime King who made the decisions he felt he needed to make, and who did not shy away from crisis or conflict. When people need to be harassed and their substance eaten out, a true king will take those steps in a decisive and honest manner, leaving no doubt that he has made the decision his decisiveness made him to make.
King George III was a man who so impressed the colonists rebelling against him that they could not avoid including in the very document with which they declared their independence a substantial amount of praise for their proper monarch. For example, Thomas Jefferson included these words:
"He is at this time transporting large Armies…to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. He has constrained our fellow Citizens…to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands."
Bring it on! Er, sorry.
The important point is that, indeed, the Declaration of Independence of these United States states plainly states that "…all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." In other words, a wise ruler, -- or a president if you will -- must see to it that his people are not compelled to reinvent the wheel as you might call it, when instead great changes can be made by imposing appropriate degrees of suffering and agitation on them.
The American people have come a long way, have endured, and have risen above what I would term an Exodus of Evil. Many of the people who come to our shores do so illegally, with little regard for their impact on the leaders of our economy, heedless of the gap between their religious beliefs or skin colors and those of our honest citizens, and yet we rise above, like a tall, like a very tall stack of boxes made in China with USA stickers hiding the truth for the greater good and a perfect stage set, like workers in New Orleans after a hurricane laboring with all their might for 45 minutes when their president needed a backdrop. We have risen above so much to make use of you, here today, you new citizens soon to be neuterized, and so I ask you to take very seriously the words you will be asked to repeat, which is the following words:
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."
I construe that oath in accordance with the unitary power of the executive, and let me explain something to you, while we're here together huddled up together. The Constitution says I can't take the right to something like habeas corpus away from you. But it never says you had it in the first place. Think about that. That's like saying I can't steal a house from a homeless bum. Heh heh. So you may be thinking you'll have all sorts of rights by lunchtime. Let me tell you, that depends on how well you cook the lunch! Heh heh. (Applause.)
Another concept mentioned in the oath is laws. I write those. I use something called a signing statement, or an executive order, or I just put the law inside my head, where if you think about it is the safest place possible. How can the evildoers possibly determine what our laws are if they only exist inside my head? And I'll tell you another little secret: the trick to keeping a lot of laws in your head - and this was even true for Moses - is to sometimes wear a crown. That's just a little tip in case you're elected president someday. We're working out a way to elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, so you might be next!
The Constitution has advanced over the millennia. When the Senate comes back into session we're going to modernize the Fourth Amendment. We've modernized about nine of them so far, and I'm hard at work every day in Washington modernizing away. Last year I spent almost seven full months modernizing in Washington, D.C. And in the coming hours I will spend many more days than you might care to imagine, because there is a crisis upon us to which all citizens must be called to observe and appreciate. We are in grave threat from the nation of Iran. Never since the age of Jefferson has this land faced greater apparel. And I have already ordered decisive action.
As a first step I have sent the Vice President today to Boston to give a speech on a ship surrounded by soldiers who have been properly screened and coached. A lot of people don't recognize how intense and endless that process is. Imagine Mr. Jefferson trying to explain to Sally why she shouldn't mention something he'd done in the middle of the night. I imagine the Democrat Party is pretty glad they didn't give slaves blue dresses, Heh heh.