Remembering Ronald Reagan

Today is Ronald Reagan’s birthday, the man named by the Wall Street Journal as the “man of the century”, would have been 96.

As a reminder of the clear headed inspriring leadership he provided, here’s an excerpt from his address to the 1992 Republican National Convention.

Referring to the opposition’s rhetoric:

A fellow named James Allen once wrote in his diary, “many thinking people believe America has seen its best days.” He wrote that July 26, 1775. There are still those who believe America is weakening; that our glory was the brief flash of time called the 20th Century; that ours was a burst of greatness too bright and brilliant to sustain; that America’s purpose is past.

My friends, I utterly reject those views. That’s not the America we know. We were meant to be masters of destiny, not victims of fate. Who among us would trade America’s future for that of any other country in the world? And who could possibly have so little faith in our America that they would trade our tomorrows for our yesterdays?

I’ll give you a hint. They put on quite a production in New York a few weeks ago. You might even call it slick. A stone’s throw from Broadway it was, and how appropriate. Over and over they told us they are not the party they were. They kept telling us with straight faces that they’re for family values, they’re for a strong America, they’re for less intrusive government.

And they call me an actor.

To hear them talk, you’d never know that the nightmare of nuclear annihilation has been lifted from our sleep. You’d never know that our standard of living remains the highest in the world. You’d never know that our air is cleaner than it was 20 years ago. You’d never know that we remain the one nation the rest of the world looks to for leadership.

It wasn’t always this way. We mustn’t forget – even if they would like to – the very different America that existed just 12 years ago; an America with 21 percent interest rates and back to back years of double digit inflation; an America where mortgage payments doubled, paychecks plunged, and motorists sat in gas lines; an America whose leaders told us it was our own fault; that ours was a future of scarcity and sacrifice; and that what we really needed was another good dose of government control and higher taxes.

It wasn’t so long ago that the world was a far more dangerous place as well. It was a world where aggressive Soviet communism was on the rise and American strength was in decline. It was a world where our children came of age under the threat of nuclear holocaust. It was a world where our leaders told us that standing up to aggressors was dangerous – that American might and determination were somehow obstacles to peace.

But we stood tall and proclaimed that communism was destined for the ash heap of history. We never heard so much ridicule from our liberal friends. The only thing that got them more upset was two simple words: “Evil Empire.”

But we knew then what the liberal Democrat leaders just couldn’t figure out: the sky would not fall if America restored her strength and resolve. The sky would not fall if an American president spoke the truth. The only thing that would fall was the Berlin Wall.

I heard those speakers at that other convention saying “we won the Cold War” – and I couldn’t help wondering, just who exactly do they mean by “we”? And to top it off, they even tried to portray themselves as sharing the same fundamental values of our party! What they truly don’t understand is the principle so eloquently stated by Abraham Lincoln: “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

If we ever hear the Democrats quoting that passage by Lincoln and acting like they mean it, then, my friends, we will know that the opposition has really changed.

Until then, we see all that rhetorical smoke, billowing out from the Democrats, well ladies and gentlemen, I’d follow the example of their nominee. Don’t inhale.

Read this and other Reagan speeches at The Heritage Foundation.

8 thoughts on “Remembering Ronald Reagan”

  1. Ronald Reagan managed to free every Western country from Communism except Cuba. To Cuba he sent Gen. Vernon Waters to negotiate a rapprochment with Castro. If Castro had not rebuffed him today Reagan would be known as the president who “opened up Cuba” to American capital, as Nixon did China.

  2. Great speech. Wasn’t it this speech too that he made the quip that he knew Thomas Jefferson, that he was a friend of Thomas Jefferson, and that Bubba was no Thomas Jefferson?

    This was Ronnie’s last great speech before he fell ill.

    That speech was so well written . . . I wish the GOP had as eloquent and “articulate” a candidate as Ronnie was.

  3. Ziva:

    I will give Ronald Reagan all the credit I give John Paul II or Margaret Thatcher for defeating Communism in the West. But as a Cuban, other than his receptiveness to our cause and knowledge of our real situation — which did not help him to end it — Reagan did not do anything for Cuba that contributed to our freedom. I think, perhaps, he believed that my defeating the Soviet Union he would win freedom for Cuba. This strategy did not work, obviously. In my opinion, the greatest president for Cubans was Lyndon Johnson. It is to him that 2 million Cubans owe their freedom.

  4. Ronald Reagan is my hero and always will be. He was a visionary in every sense of the word. My favorite moment was when he made his political debut on behalf of Barry Goldwater.

    As brilliant as he was, the masses just weren’t ready for him yet. It took four years of Jimmy Carter to wake people out of their slumber.

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