08 Mar A TIME FOR CHOOSING, AGAIN
Today is the 51st Anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s most famous speech, which he called “A Time for Choosing”, delivered in support of Republican Barry Goldwater’s presidential bid against the eventual Democrat winner, LBJ. If you’ve never read it or have read it dozens of times, today would be a good day to read it again, here.
The reason is that we are again at a most consequential time for choosing in America’s journey up from the Declaration of Independence. We face new politicians, new policies and new messages. But in the most important ways, they are exactly the same politicians, policies and messages Reagan so eloquently and effectively denounced.
Reagan spoke of the threat communist expansionism posed to the world in his day and said that America was at war “with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars ….” He lamented that the Left in his era wanted “the maintenance of peace” without acknowledging that roundly defeating the Communist ideology and threat would be vital before peace could be achieved.
Today, the entire world is wrapped up in defending against the “most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars ….”, Islamism, yet left-wingers of all sorts blithely call for “diversity and tolerance,” denounce “Islamophobia,” and call for the influx of Syrian and other Islamic refugees into our country despite the FBI telling Congress they have NO way to vet these refugees, despite that the FBI just arrested 70 ISIS members inside US borders, and despite the FBI acknowledgment that ISIS is already in all 50 states and recruiting new members in all of them.
As in Reagan’s day, so today, the Pollyanna “head in the sand,” “surely they mean us no harm,” and “we can handle this threat by ignoring or else being nice to our enemies” thought prevails in the utopian left, which adds insult to its ignorance by effusing self-righteousness and lambasting those who point out truth.
Reagan hit on numerous themes then trendy that are repeated in today’s leftist “wisdom”: disdain for the Constitution as outdated and too restrictive of the President’s power, support for (quoting a liberal in Reagan’s era) “meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government,” and calling free markets and the profit motive “outmoded.”
The Time for Choosing speech excoriated the determination of big government lefties to assault liberty and property rights under the umbrella of urban renewal, outlined the massive failures measurable even then of the War on Poverty, pummeled the left’s ever-insatiable desire for higher taxes, and decried the national debt and the incessant increases in the debt ceiling. Sound familiar?
But perhaps Reagan’s most poignant, upbeat and lasting insight was that the matter for choosing is not really about left vs right, or D vs R, but ’ only an up or down: [up] man’s age-old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.” As he said, “regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.”
This is the same dichotomy we face today.
From the FCC’s utterly unnecessary seizing of control over the internet, the catastrophic and expensive takeover of the healthcare system, the abandonment of any pretense of following the Constitution’s limitations on power, and in countless other ways, the Left is doing on today’s issues what its forebears in Reagan’s time did, and what its counterparts in left wing government-controlled societies around the world have always done. Pursue more power and control over more and more facets of the everyday lives of the people.
America did not choose Reagan’s candidate in 1964, but 16 years later it did wisely choose him to take the helm and relieve America of the malaise on our economy and society that flowed from these same failed left wing ideas that President Carter inflicted on America.
Our economy as well as our national American spirit are today dark and discouraged and failing just as they were when Carter left office.
America indeed is at another time for choosing.
I pray we choose wisely in 2016.