the 45th Anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s “At Time for Choosing” his Barry Goldwater speech
This speech remains incredibly relevant as the forces which we must overcome still exist and so many Republicans implicitly dispute the words that Ronald Reagan, then only a citizen activist, spoke 45 years ago today.
I don’t question that we must “dispute” the contents of the speech because only in discussion can we bring to light that so many of the solutions, at least in a philosophical vein, to today’s problems were evident even in the middle of the 20th century. Ronald Reagan might as well have been envisioning the ideals and ideas of President Barack Obama because despite what people may think about his “change” and vision for the future these are not new ideas but old aspirations that people have rejected and (others) supported for decades.
Then again most Americans do not have a real sense of history or a knowledge of civics. Most Conservatives or Republicans do not realize that we need not summon up the spirit of something new to face new modern obstacles but see that the First Principles still matter. We should certainly bring this to light. Those such as I do not reject President Obama as a person but have rejected his politics for 45 years and more. I merely wish that we could exhibit this for all.
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.
Indeed we do. When I first read the speech out of the anthology Tear Down This Wall I was amazed at how prescient Mr. Reagan was and then I realized that he was speaking against them not merely because he was looking forward but because he addressed contemporary issues. The lesson, I suppose, is that we must remain vigilant.
Now there will never be another Ronald Reagan. People at every Presidential election since 2007 went either looking for “the next Ronald Reagan” or proclaiming/exclaiming that his or her candidate “is the next Ronald Reagan.” I stood with my brain silently screaming as a young woman told another “I truly believe Mitt Romney is the next Ronald Reagan.” Whatever one thinks of Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson or Duncan Hunter or any Presidential candidate of 2008 or the ones for 2012 each man is his own man. We should hold a candidate’s principles up to the light of the principles of Ronald Reagan, certainly, but we cannot agree with everything that a man says; we should leave room for disagreement on some issues and be able to say that a man is adequate to run for an office or to fill the room. If we wait for the perfect candidate, make “the perfect the enemy of the good” then we simply will die waiting for the Best Conservative Imaginable as our philosophical opponents just have their way politically and legally.
Ronald Reagan may be dead and his Presidency may long since have passed into history but the principles, First Principles, remain and stay as true as those principles upon which the American nation was founded and are as immutable as gravity, although we must refresh the memories of our contemporaries. Even if the Spirit of Reagan will not inhabit a politician, a statesman, or a candidate, it still remains as an example to follow, as best as possible, if not perfectly.
The National Center for Public Policy has the text of the speech here.
The University of Texas has the text here.
Fordham University’s Modern History Sourcebook contains/presents the text here.
You can download the video of the speech from Google Video.
UPDATE 2008-10-28 12:44 PM: For some reason Rush Limbaugh is only celebrating this on Wednesday, October 28th and doesn’t mention any of it on the 27th on the website or the newsletter.