The announcement that Sarah Palin would headline the Young America’s Foundation banquet in honor of Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday, and discuss his “A Time For Choosing” speech, prompted me to review those great words. Reagan’s wisdom is a treasure our younger generation would profit from re-discovering, after they dig it out from beneath years of distorted caricatures and liberal venom.
Some years ago, I gave a Reagan calendar to a young friend, who would excitedly repeat the quote from every new page to me, at the beginning of each month. He didn’t want to read them all at once – he wanted to dig them up one month at a time, like buried doubloons. “I had no idea how cool he was,” he told me. I would imagine most young people don’t.
The media has begun pushing a laughable new meme, over the past few weeks, that Barack Obama is somehow “Reaganesque.” Nothing could be further from the truth. “A Time For Choosing” was delivered in 1964, while Reagan was campaigning for Barry Goldwater… but it would make a better State of the Union speech today than the ephemeral nonsense Obama served up on Tuesday, which already seems stale and irrelevant.
Reagan spoke of vast government spending and imbalanced budgets, lamenting that “We have raised our debt limit three times in the last twelve months, and now our national debt is one and a half times bigger than all the combined debts of all the nations in the world.” We’re getting ready to raise the debt limit again. The national debt in 1964 was about $312 billion. Barack Obama raised it by three times as much in the past seven months.
Regan counseled steadfast courage in the long war against “the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars.” He would go on to defeat that enemy, but now we face a new one, and it has already killed thousands of Americans on our home soil. As for climbing to the stars, we don’t do that anymore – we just use the Space Race as a metaphor for plowing billions of dollars into “infrastructure.”
He spoke of climbing up to “age-old dreams”, instead of sliding down into “the ant heap of totalitarianism.” The current President was content to stand quietly by, while his party tried to squash the free speech of its opponents, by declaring that speech an incitement to murder. The woman who will speak at the Reagan banquet is still accused of having blood on her hands.
He denounced those who argued “the profit motive has become outmoded, and must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state.” They’re still making the same damned arguments. I speak often against the power of centralized government as “force and coercion.” I see it that way because Ronald Reagan taught me to, the first time I heard “A Time For Choosing.”
Regan spoke in defense of property rights, and against class warfare. He asked why vast government spending programs become black holes, where tax money vanishes without a trace. Those words should weigh heavily upon our current President, who wants more “stimulus” spending, but can’t account for much of the last trillion dollars he took from us.
“A Time for Choosing” forecasts the bankruptcy of Social Security, a moment we will arrive at this very year. It describes the difficulty of reining in rapacious government, in words more valuable than any of the gaseous billion-dollar “investment” plans Barack Obama revealed, right after he announced his “spending freeze.” It defines “socialism,” and uses it accurately against people who howl beneath the weight of that word, as vampires roar at the touch of a silver cross upon their skin. It explains that a moral government cannot be constructed through the focused application of immorality by elite politicians.
I’m delighted the Young America’s Foundation chose someone who truly understands and cherishes these words to polish them and present them to a new generation as a gift, the way Reagan would have wanted. These words would have been ash in Barack Obama’s mouth. Sarah Palin will release them against the bright California sky as if they were doves.