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.
The two-month span between Mr Bush's re-election and his upcoming inauguration has been relatively predictable.
MEET THE PANEL
Name: Chase Erwin
Lives: Arlington, Texas
Works: Unemployed college student
Voted: Formerly undecided, voted Kerry
In 10 words or less:
"Idealistic, opinionated, careful to weigh options before making decisions"
None of the recent cabinet vacancies or appointments have caused any jaw-dropping shocks.
I expect Condoleezza Rice to have a shaky start as secretary of state, but she will soon settle into her stride.
I trust Mr Bush's cabinet selections on face value. They were selected for the right reasons. Now let's see if they can prove themselves.
As far as Mr Bush's own second term is concerned, I expect the same Texan stubbornness I know quite well.
He will still ship off our troops to the four corners of the world, but
he will need his new cabinet to advise him on his next move.
I still hope that Mr Bush will lead us forward in his foreign policy instead of meddling in one area for too long.
Domestically, I fear that Mr Bush may eventually try to culturally cleanse this country with his policies focusing on marriage definition and prayer and pledges in schools, among others.
I would hate to see the last 40 years of social and personal advancement go to waste.
However, if I don't see my hopes realised, I can still move to Canada.
I fail to see what the problem is. If Bush curtails civil liberties to such a degree that he upsets the American public, the people will simply elect politicians from other parties. If they don't have a problem with his actions, the Republicans will stay in power. If this person wishes to leave America, then let us help him. It will free up more room and jobs for immigrants to this country who are both willing to work hard and have a healthy respect for our fine nation. Perhaps there is a Canadian wishing to trade places?
Alex, Holden, MA, USA
The reason young, college-aged people are contemplating fleeing America isn't because they've given up. They're fleeing for their lives. They can see what's happening, more wars, further erosion of civil liberties, and Christian fundamentalism. With more wars comes the need for more troops, and where are they going to come from? Certainly not the rich and powerful, they don't have the threat of having college aid cut off if they don't register for the draft, because they don't need it.
John, MI, USA
Chase, if you don't see your hopes realised, you should become more active in the electoral process. Get out and register voters, campaign for your politicians, raise funds or spread the word.
Rob G, Kansas City, USA
The young man has hit the nail square! Civil liberties are going to be devastated. The new supreme court will ban abortion, gay marriage and whatever else this fundamentalist government wants!
Fred Moore, USA
Chase should get on the next plane to Canada - he is definitely much better off there!
Emily, Oxford, UK (previously NB, Canada)
I hope Chase does move to Canada. We don't need more pessimistic individual in the USA. Canada offers this individual everything he wants, free health care, great liberal plans, and everyone loves Canada. If Chase needs money to buy his bus pass to Canada please let me know.
Julianna Mckenna, New York City, NY, USA
This country was founded with Christian ideals. We need to get back to those ideals if we expect to keep receiving the favours we have enjoyed for the past two hundred-plus years!
Ivan Dirickson, Castle Rock, Washington, USA
To Ivan Dirickson, Castle Rock, Washington, USA: This country was also founded on slavery. Does that mean we should make slavery mandatory for Americans? The problem with Christianity in America is that fundamentalists, like Bush, are trying to force everybody to live according to their religious beliefs, not unlike the Taliban. The Founding Fathers would not approve of the current religious fanaticism.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA
Good for you, you are welcome any time. I came here myself at the beginning of the Vietnam war and have no regrets. I have always had big problems with American foreign policy and more so now. George is a disaster for the whole world.
Gordon Bernius, Ottawa, Canada
Chases Erwin's views do not represent the majority view in Texas at all. Of course President Bush is trying to get rid of the last 40 years of liberal domestic morals. You cannot stand as a nation in the long run if you don't stand for the rights granted by God. Once your laws go against these rights - you go against God. I say, get rid of those that do go against God's laws and get back the roots of the Christian nation as we were founded.
Paul, Irving, Texas, USA
I will not be the first person in this forum to say that you would be more than welcome you if you chose to come to Canada. As a tip, I would pay a visit first to see if you can stand the weather.
Stan, Burlington, Canada
As a lifelong Democrat and supporter of John Kerry in the recent election, I can understand many of Mr Erwin's concerns regarding President Bush's second term. However, I take issue with Chase's flippant comment that "I can still move to Canada". When American liberals say things like that, it has the foul sound of giving up. Even though our party is currently out of power, I would never consider abandoning my citizenship. I remain convinced that, as they have in the past, the Republicans will lose their majority through their poorly thought out policies.
DL Gibson, Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
I worked hard for George Bush's re-election. I registered new voters, wrote letters to editors, and distributed literature. Then I voted for President Bush and proudly watched his inauguration. President Bush is an honest man with true grit. He is a brave man because he has made himself and his family targets in the war on terror. Like our troops he too is on the firing line. I view terrorists as the new fascists. Their ideology is based on intolerance and violence. The terrorists must be stopped and I support the president's course of action in dealing with the threat.
Robert Richter, Dallas Texas USA
I listened to President Bush's speech, and now reading the comments above I have to admit, I'm quite surprised at how fanatically Christian the USA still is. I say this as a supporter of the war in Iraq, and a great fan of the US as a whole, s I'm not at all hostile to the notion. I'm an atheist, and I believe in the UK we realised that the state and religion really should be kept separate, for it's when the two mix that problems really start to occur. Is the USA really still so evangelical?
David, London, UK
It really irritates me when all of these people write in saying that the US should go back to its "Christian" moral foundation. When will people understand that not everyone is religious, and that the Christian religion is actually one built on intolerance and ignorance?
Sarah, Ohio, USA
Paul, Irving, Texas, USA, Your views are downright scary ... and here's why - in your own words (with a twist of course). Of course President Bush is trying to get rid of the last 40 years of Infidel domestic morals. You cannot stand as a nation in the long run if you don't stand for the rights granted by Allah. Once your laws go against these rights - you go against Allah. I say, get rid of those that do go against Allah's laws and get back the roots of the Muslim nation as we were founded. The US must adopt Sharia law, and become an Islamic State! Paul, We are not a theocracy! Read your First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States! I am a Christian, but our nation is composed of many different peoples from many different religions and cultures. Imposing your faith or your personal "moral" views on others is not supported by our Constitution!
Lydia Selwood, Broadway, Virginia, USA
To Lydia Selwood: We do need to return to the moral values of our Christian beginnings. This doesn't mean imposing Christianity on other faiths, but protecting and upholding morals and decency like those practiced among faiths. Christianity is the foundation religion of our country and liberals who dispute the strong Christian heritage of America are hopelessly trying to rewrite the history books.
Tim, Bethesda, MD, USA
-"I would hate to see the last 40 years of social and personal advancement go to waste."- It is refreshing to know that college aged students, the next leaders of our country, take the time to reflect on historical causes and effects. Bravo Chase, the social advancements in our country were brought about because of a voice coming from the people. Some might even call that democracy. If only our leaders would take more time to study the historical ramifications of foreign policy actions, we would not find ourselves in such entangling foreign situations.
Michael J. Kushner, State College, Pennsylvania USA
Your views Chase, do not match that of the majority. That was proven in this election by all the states that banned gay marriage as well as the big win for the republicans. This is how our society works, the majority decides the rules and laws which we live by. These threats by you and many others to "run away" if you don't get your away do nothing but get our hopes up.
Tim H, New Mexico, US
Tim H: I can only thank God that the founders of this nation wrote the Constitution of the United States to protect the minority from having to submit to the majority.
John Ryan, Indianapolis, IN, USA
I have a comment for Tim H: First of all, the "big win" by the Republicans was almost split 50/50. The United States is clearly divided on President Bush. Secondly, comments like yours that people who disagree should run away only advocate more intolerance and cruelty. Aren't we supposed to be an accepting nation? Instead of telling someone to go away for having a differing opinion, you should be ashamed that someone would want to leave in the first place because they have differing opinions.
Dara Larson, Wichita, Kansas, USA
What I think must be explained to Republican supporters is that we, who disagree with George Bush's "war on terror", do not disagree with the fact that terrorism must be wiped out. However, our disagreement with the "war on terror" is not whether we should defeat terrorism, but how. George Bush's policies do not address the problems in failed states that lead oppressed people to support terrorism or become terrorists themselves. I am not so dovish to believe that force is not part of the equation, but as smaller, more focused campaigns in conjunction with international pressure, cooperation, social and economic programs that will leave terrorists with nowhere to go and a dwindling support base.
Greg Harmer, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Paul Irving and his like in the White House share the same mindset as the Muslim fundamentalists we are now fighting. Both seem to advocate a theocracy with blind obedience to religious doctrine. The fact is, the United States was founded on secular, rational, enlightenment ideals. Laws are not written to satisfy somebody's God, but in order to help improve society.
Max K., Philadelphia, USA
Re comment from Robert Richter, Dallas--How is Bush a brave man because he "made" himself a target? Previous US presidents have never been a target by various malcontents? Doesn't he have the Secret Service protection? The talk of Bush in the front line bugs me, because when (not if) terrorists hit, it's going to be a blue state (NY or CA), not a red state.
S. Lee, Irvine, CA