One of Reagan’s many brilliant speeches, A Time for Choosing contains a passage that has become, perhaps, even more relevant with age:
As for the peace that we would preserve, I wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or son has died in South Vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that should be maintained indefinitely. Do they mean peace, or do they mean we just want to be left in peace? There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lose that war, and in doing so lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well, I think it’s time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.
Their conflict was Vietnam, ours is Iraq, and the enemy we face today is far less constrained by morality or self-interest than the Soviets were. Right now they don’t have the same arsenal of deadly weapons, but each day moves us closer to the point where fanatics like Osama bin Laden gain control of some of the most deadly weapons on the planet.
If we fail in our war, history will still record that those with the most to lose did the least to prevent it from happening, just as if we had lost in the Cold War. Yet, we seem to be unable as a society to defend our own interests and values from those who would subject us all to domination under the banner of radical Islam.
We should be constantly asking ourselves whether we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers — because we keep selling out the values of the Republic they created each and every day. We choose to “tax the rich” forgetting that envy is not the sine qua non of public policy. We choose more regulations designed to “protect” us from smoking, fatty foods, etc., and each day our freedoms are diminished. We have people making claims that this government is the equivalent of the Nazis while a group of foreign despots are emboldened more and more by our weakness and vacillation.
If ever there was a time we needed a leader with the stature of Ronald Wilson Reagan, it’s now.