AMERICA IS AT A CROSSROADS. She's been here before. Throughout Her two hundred-plus-year history, many a man or administration or regime have sought to shake our great nation from its very foundation. Men of great personal ambition who convinced themselves they had conceived of a better plan than the original Founders. Men of a new vision who had summarily dismissed or conveniently forgotten that a little over two centuries ago, Providence had predestined and preordained another group of visionaries -- visionaries who had come together against all odds, willingly shed their blood, and constructed the foundational documents that would become the birth of the greatest governmental system this world has ever known. Documents based on a shared experience of living under oppressive, tyrannical rule. Documents that spoke panegyrically of man's inherent nature to be free. Of man's desirous quest for self-governance based on the divine guidance of an omnipotent Creator, on the rule of law and on common mores.
America has sailed down this course before. And throughout history, whenever She's yawed from the straight and narrow, She has been able to right Herself led by the steady guidance of a unique and diverse citizenry that has collectively recognized the error of its way.
Today, like many times in the past, America finds Herself veering dangerously off course. Her preemptory leaders have charted a new yet familiar course. A course that has led Her into treacherous waters. Fortunately, whenever America is steered towards peril, a citizen arises. A citizen who is willing to take the helm and pull the country back towards safety.
Ronald Wilson Reagan was one such man.
Similar to today, the 1970's were a tumultuous time. America witnessed the fall of a corrupt Richard Nixon administration and the utter despair of a failed Jimmy Carter administration. The latter wasn't so much plagued by scandal, as was the former, but nonetheless ushered in disastrous domestic and economic policies that spurred high inflation, high-unemployment and a 55% presidential disapproval rating, as well as the ignominious Iran hostage crisis. In short, the Carter administration was a calamity and had taken America severely off its constitutional course.
Enter Ronald Reagan.
Born in 1911, "Dutch", as his father nicknamed him because of his "fat little Dutchman"-like appearance, grew up in Illinois where as a child he gained a reputation for his opposition to racial discrimination, when at the time, racial discrimination was the norm. While living in Dixon, IL, Reagan once invited some black people to stay at his house when they were turned away from a local inn. He later recalled how his mother fed them all breakfast in the morning.
Reagan's first job was as a lifeguard at the Rock River in Lowell Park near Dixon, where he was credited with 77 rescues. He famously notched a mark on a wooden log for each life he saved.
Reagan attended Eureka College where he studied economics and sociology and excelled in -- well, most everything. He was a member of the football team, captain of the swim team and was elected student body president.
Reagan also served his country with honor from 1937 to 1945, earning the rank of captain in the Army Air Force. Although he never saw direct military combat due to his near-sightedness, he produced over 400 military training films during his service.
Reagan's life achievements are far too numerous for this space. Suffice to say, movie star, Screen Actors Guild president, two-term governor of California, and of course, two-term President of the United States, are but scant highlights of this amazing man's life. He was unquestionably a phenomenon. The unique combination of good looks, talent, intellect, charisma and undeniable patriotism like this country has seldom seen.
It was in 1980 that Ronald Reagan took over the ship America, a once mighty and proud ship that had taken on a cataclysmic amount of water in the aftermath of the Carter administration, and through constitutionally-based principled leadership, brought the ship back from the very brink.
In the year 2010, America is once again floundering in a churning sea, this time with the innocuous sounding waves of Hope and Change crashing against its hull. President Barack Obama, the captain of this ship, was elected on a platform that promised -- or threatened -- to "fundamentally change America". As with Carter, America finds itself being driven out into a dark and menacing abyss with an untested navigator at the controls who employs navigational instruments which are totally alien to its passengers.
Unfortunately, former President Ronald Wilson Reagan passed away in 2004.
However, if it were possible for Reagan and Obama to debate some of today's issues that are currently dividing Americans and causing a great upheaval of governmental constraints, and frame those issues by contrasting the viewpoints of the experienced statesman Ronald Reagan and the modern-day political Ahab, Barack Obama, America may once again be able to find its way to sweeter, gentler seas.
Let the debate begin...
ON NATIONAL SECURITY
I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war... America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and dignity of all human beings... I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear... We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.Ronald Reagan:
Democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man... We cannot play innocents abroad in a world that is not innocent... How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin... If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate, Mr. Gorbachev. Open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
ON THE SCOPE OF OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
If people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists -- to protect and to promote their common welfare -- all else is lost.Ronald Reagan:
We are a nation that has a government -- not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the earth. Our government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed.
ON GOVERNMENT SPENDING
Now, anybody who thinks that we can move this economy forward with just a few folks at the top doing well, hoping that it's gonna trickle down to working people who are running faster and faster just to keep up, you'll never see it... This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created and share its benefits more equitably... I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody... What do you think stimulus is? It's spending -- that's the whole point! Seriously!Ronald Reagan:
For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children's future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political and economic upheavals. You and I, as individuals,can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why then should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by the same situation? The Founding Fathers knew a government couldn't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time of choosing.
ON GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE
After a century of striving, after a year of debate, after a historic vote, health care reform is no longer an unmet promise. It is the law of the land... But if you -- if what -- the reports are true, what they're saying is, is that as a consequence of us getting 30 million additional people health care, at the margins that's gonna increase our costs... We knew that... And by the way, that is the single most important thing we could do in terms of reducing our deficit. That's why we did it.Ronald Reagan:
One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It's very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project... The more the plan fails, the more the planners plan.
ON THE ENVIRONMENT
This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands... We can't drive our SUV's and eat as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times... That's not gonna happen.Ronald Reagan:
If the federal government had been around when the Creator was putting His hand to this state, Indiana wouldn't be here. It'd still be waiting for an environmental impact statement... Approximately 80% of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation. So let's not go overboard in setting and enforcing tough emission standards from man-made sources.
I can make a firm pledge, under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.Ronald Reagan:
Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: if it moves, tax it; if it keeps moving, regulate it; and if it stops moving, subsidize it... Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the Democrats believe every day is April 15th.
ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
[Fox News pushes] a point of view that I disagree with. It's a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of our country...Ronald Reagan:
Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps through the walls topped by barbed wire. It wafts across the electrified borders.
ON THEIR VIEW OF THEMSELVES
People of Berlin -- people of the world -- this is our moment! This is our time! We are the ones we've been waiting for! We are the change that we seek!Ronald Reagan:
When people tell me I became president on January 20, 1981, I feel I have to correct them. You don't become President of the United States. You are given temporary custody of an institution called the presidency, which belongs to our people.
In America, there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world... I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we've struggled to keep the promises of liberty and equality for all of our people. We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.Ronald Reagan:
Let us resolve tonight that young Americans will always find there a city of hope in a country that is free. And let us resolve they will say our day and our generation, we did keep the faith with our God, that we did act worthy of ourselves, that we did protect and pass on lovingly that shining city on a hill.
And then there's the First Ladies, Michelle Obama and Nancy Reagan...
IN THEIR WORDS
America is just downright mean... For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction.Nancy Reagan:
I am a big believer that eventually everything comes back to you. You get back what you give out... [Ronnie's] legacy is a strong and free America, and for this and for a lifetime of selfless service, a grateful nation thanks him.
America, the choice we make this November 2nd will go a long way towards determining if we possess the strength and the determination as a people to put our country back on course.
The left likes to mock patriots with constitutional values as people who just want to take this country "backwards".
The truth is, when you have lost your way and you find yourself in precipitously dangerous environs, going back to the tried-and-true path from whence you came is surely the most prudent measure one could take.
America, the choice is yours.
VOTE NOVEMBER 2nd!