In the run up to the 2004 American presidential election we asked a panel of voters to share their views and predictions ahead of the outcome. Here, on Inauguration Day, they look ahead to President George W Bush's second term.
Nancy O'Leary Pew
MEET THE PANEL
Name: Nancy O'Leary Pew
Lives: Seattle, Washington
In 10 words or less: "Concerned American wife, mother, grandmother, librarian, friend, neighbour, activist"
Inauguration Day 2005 will be a day of mourning, reflection and prayer for me.
While I will not be able to journey to Washington DC to join my fellow citizens lining the parade route in protest against President Bush's policies, I am taking the day off work to reflect on this event and to participate in a demonstration here in Seattle.
Bush has taken this flawed election result as a mandate for his policies and now plans to spend his political capital.
Since November he has gone full steam ahead with his heedless plans.
He has pushed for the expensive and unnecessary privatisation of social security, which will increase the national debt by trillions of dollars.
He has nominated Condoleezza Rice, who advised him on this disastrous war in Iraq, to be secretary of state, and Alberto Gonzales - who has repeatedly put Bush's wishes ahead of human rights as the president's chief legal adviser - to be his next attorney general.
Even some Republicans seem to be distancing themselves from the president as the situation in Iraq moves towards civil war - a situation the upcoming elections will not be able to stop.
Bush had to be shamed into pledging a reasonable aid package for tsunami victims while he is preparing for a very expensive inaugural ceremony.
Bush continues to be guided by corporate interests and his narrow religious views, without concern for the health, safety or wellbeing of ordinary Americans or our standing in the world community.
This is a day for concerned Americans to rededicate ourselves to work for political change, including the reform of our electoral system itself.
Citizens and lawmakers must work together to halt Bush's disastrous policies and restore some integrity to government.
"Bush had to be shamed into pledging a reasonable aid package"? What? The US has been the single largest contributor of aid to the tsunami victims. We may not have pledged the most money, but thousands of our soldiers responded, including an entire carrier battle group. Millions of dollars (some even donated by Bush himself, from his own pocket) were donated to help the victims. Before you start bashing the president simply because you don't like him, take a look at what the rest of the world did. Liberals like you will use any excuse to try and discredit Bush.
Shane, Colorado, USA
Kudos to Nancy for being the only one of your panel to allude to what many of us here in America take for granted, that it is not simply our politicians but our electoral system itself that is flawed.
Joseph Buchanan, Denver, USA
It is ironic that Nancy casts doubt on the legitimacy of Bush's election when she resides in a county so associated with questionable election practices that the recent governor's election in her state is being challenged in court. Presumably questionable elections are alright with Nancy when her candidate wins.
Scott Westwood, Port Orchard, WA, USA
Nancy: On the partial privatization of social security, many government officials have tested this plan and have earned more money because of it. Get over it! You lost!
Bill, Houston, TX, USA
The re-election of Bush means that the USA will become more isolated in the world. This is the beginning of the sharp decline of American power.
James Alcock, Toronto, Canada
I agree with Nancy. This nation is on a downward spiral and we need to work hard to prevent undesirable changes from happening. The war in Iraq is horrendous and we need to bring our troops home. I am one of the young people, those are my peers, members of my generation are dying out there. I agree with Nancy in that I think we could at least spend $40 million on something better and more humane than on inaugural parades.
Jamie, Oklahoma City, OK, USA
Stop moaning Nancy, Bush was elected fair and square and Democrats cannot accept this. Protesting won't change a thing, you may as well go to work that day and make a contribution to the economy you are so concerned about.
Jon Harrison, Kettering, England
Nancy is absolutely correct. I've never been so ashamed of the US government. We need to rally together to make a difference in the world. Just think what would happen if all of our citizens black, Hispanic, gay, environmental activists, Democrats, global citizens all got together and decided we're are going to make this world a better place. It's disgusting that Bush is spending 40 million US dollars on his inaugural ceremony, but gets cheap helping our friends in Asia who need really need assistance during this time. World, there are many of us who do not feel the way our government acts is remotely decent.
Karla Graber, St. Petersburg, FL
Nancy please, your ideals, though great as they may be, are not grounded in reality. Bush won and Kerry lost. And to Karla, the United States has done an excellent job helping victims in Asia. You should be proud of your country. What happened there is a human tragedy. We all grieve, and most of us have given generously. And about the cost of the inaugural, where were your protests of the money spent in '92 and '96?
Scott Morton, Mobile, Alabama, USA
I just have one question for Nancy. I thought you were going to be moving to Canada? First of all, the election results were not 'flawed', Bush won by 3.5m votes. Secondly, Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, dictator, and committed atrocities on his own people on a daily basis, used WMD's against the Kurds and Iran, and was constantly shooting at US pilots in the no-fly zones established as part of a cease-fire agreement after the first Gulf war. Thirdly, the Social Security measure will be very difficult for Bush. But the fact remains that in 40 years, social security is going to be bankrupt. What do you expect to happen when people in our age group come up for retirement and there is no social security there? If you have answers, feel free to share them, but I really don't think you or any of your liberal friends have any ideas at all.
Jeff K, Naperville, IL
Nancy, I agree and support all but one of your views above. This is not a flawed election result. America has spoken and sadly, it gave Bush some 3 million votes over Kerry. I think this country has missed not one, but two opportunities. One, to get rid of a warmongering, stubborn and not particularly bright incumbent. The other, to elect an intelligent, sensible, eloquent and truly patriotic American as their president. Today is indeed a sad day.
Raluca, Brit in the States
Nancy is not representative of mainstream Americans. People who think like she does seem to think that all of us who supported the President are right wing and possibly stupid. We are not! What we are is realists. This is a nasty world we live in with lots of people who want to kill good folks. They won't just decide to be nice if we are nice to them. The President knows that. I like it that George is a tough guy, I like it that he is willing to take strong stands and follow through on them. I believe he will go down in history as one of the greats - in the same way as our other strong presidents have. (No one will even remember Jimmy Carter in 50 years - he will be a footnote, easily forgotten.) As much as I wish the world looked the way the peaceniks think it does - it just doesn't.
Suzy, Huntingdon Valley USA
Nancy sounds like one of the many people still sporting 'Kerry/Edwards' political signs in their front yard....two months after the results of the election. They just don't seem to comprehend why their candidate lost. Perhaps in her day of introspection she should contemplate how the majority of Americans support many of the conservative values Bush pushes, and that in a democratic society those values should prevail. Perhaps her mourning should be over the intractable liberal bent of the Democrat party, and their arrogant elitist approach to politics.
Bob, Seattle, WA