Forty-seven years ago Ronald Reagan, then 53 years old and likely at the height of his intrinsic abilities, gave a speech that resonates as relevantly today as it did when the Beatles ruled the music charts.
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When you realize it was four presidential terms and 16 years before the man speaking above was sent to the White House, it reminds us that the journey is long and victory goes only to those who persevere in the face of daunting odds.
Of special current interest are Reagan’s comments about Social Security and entitlements that occur roughly half-way through. His entire speech, however, could be given today changing only the names and adding zeros to the end of the numbers.
I went looking for this speech after reading this post on Daily Caller this morning. I was struck by the author’s invocation of British PM Arthur Balfour who in 1918 said of Winston Churchill “Winston has ideas, and to a statesman with ideas much shall be forgiven.”
Ronald Reagan was above all a man of ideas. His ideas were broad and deep. He loved America and her people and he wanted them to be free to prosper and he trusted Americans to be responsible and honorable. He wasn’t a policy wonk, but he understood that evil can only be defeated by a free people willing to sacrifice. That compromise with evil only postpones and worsens the eventual reckoning. That freedom and justice are not hereditary and must be jealously defended by each generation.
In this time when Americans are crying out for ideas, for an end to business as usual, is it any surprise that Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich are still showing up on the polling radar and Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have both failed to nail down the “front runner” position?
As Matt Lewis points out Mr. Cain and Mr. Gingrich are men of ideas. Whatever their short comings or status as long-shots, they both bring valuable ideas to the national stage. They have each relied on their ideas to convince voters as opposed to attacking the other candidates.
From my modest perch I respectfully call upon Mr. Perry and Mr. Romney to talk to us about your ideas. In your campaigns and in the remaining debates speak from your heart and allow us to know what your ideas are founded on. We know what you think of each other and of Barack Obama. What we need to hear now are your ideas and your plans to move our nation back toward the solid ground of freedom, prosperity and honor.
Ronald Reagan’s words echo to us across the decades, clear and honest as they were in 1964, as once more a time for choosing approaches.