50 years ago the speech that cut across party lines. Ronald Wilson Reagan was the spark for my determining while watching him often from afar in Toronto, Canada, to one day, achieve citizenship of the great Constitutional Republic of the United States. I often think these days, when witnessing the “leadership” and goings-on in contemporary America, that he must be rolling like a gyroscope in his eternal resting place in the company of the Founding Fathers and Framers. How far we have fallen since the 1980s when a true giant led us with intelligence, grit, humor, guile, honor and wisdom. Ronald Reagan was a REAL American – he shared common ethics and experience with most citizens. He wasn’t some phony baloney populist who depends upon a cult of personality, and who deals mostly in lies. The current rogue fraud “president” doesn’t even measure up to one of Reagan’s self-effacing jokes (“sorry honey, I just forgot to duck” as a for instance, apologising to Nancy following his shooting). Obamamama is a small man with limited intellect who has small ideas, constantly coming across like a petulant, peevish teenager in comparison to the accomplished adult Ronald Reagan, the man who brought the Soviet Union to heel, accomplished without having to whisper in anybody’s ear “I’ll have more flexibility after my re-election”. I’m privileged enough to declare that I made it into the United States during his terms in office on a Green Card, and eventually made it to citizenship. What an inspiration he was. May God bless this giant of a man and grant him eternal peace. And may God help, bless, and prosper the Constitutional Republic of the United States once again.
A couple or more highlights brought forth from John Fund in NRO…
In the middle of the Cold War Reagan forthrightly said liberals refused to acknowledge that “There is no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there is only one guaranteed way you can have peace — and you can have it in the next second — surrender.”
On domestic issues, Reagan was equally blunt. “Now, one side in this campaign has been telling us that the issues of this election are the maintenance of peace and prosperity,” he said. “The line has been used, ‘We’ve never had it so good.’ But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isn’t something on which we can base our hopes for the future.”
Many people have their favorite lines from the Reagan address. Here are a sample of mine:
“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, government’s programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.”
“If government planning and welfare had the answer, shouldn’t we expect government to read the score to us once in a while?” Reagan asked, “Shouldn’t they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? But the reverse is true. Each year, the need grows great, the program grows greater.”
“This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government, or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”
“You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin — just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ’round the world?”
The fact that in our overly-sensitive and easily offended age that such stirring rhetoric is so rare is a partial indictment of where our politics has failed. While issues come and go, there are fundamental questions of America’s future and place in the world that need to be addressed in overarching terms. That’s what Reagan’s “The Speech” was all about. We need leaders who will speak in such terms again.
50 years ago the speech that cut across party lines.