History & Culture / Instagram

Reagan’s First Speech – Echoes

reagan

“Rendezvous with Destiny” – a collection of speeches by Ronald Reagan – includes his first big speech. Called “A Time for Choosing,” he delivered it at the 1964 Republican convention. He was 53, far from governor or president, but he knew his mind. People shuddered. We are here again.

Wrote Reagan, almost 70 years ago, “we have come to a time for choosing.” He begins without ducking. “I am going to talk about controversial things … make no apology for this.” 

He says it is “impossible to legitimately debate the issues … without being subjected to name-calling and the application of labels.”  More, “those who deplore the use of the terms ‘pink’ and ‘leftist’ are themselves guilty of branding all who oppose their liberalism as right-wing extremists.”  Sound familiar?

The man who would one day restore respect for freedom and end the Soviet Union spoke bluntly. His words apply to Communist China. “How long can we afford the luxury of this family fight when we are at war with the most dangerous enemy ever known to man?”  Communism is again rising.

Reagan’s message. “If we lose this war … lose our freedom … history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.” “Neutrality” has no place, “if freedom is lost here, there is no place to escape to.”

He quotes Madison, then quotes Plutarch: “The real destroyer of liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations, and benefits.”  So, threats are foreign and domestic.

Already in 1964, he sees media pushing a welfare state, socialism, “planned economy,” ignoring our history of risk-taking, individualism, love of freedom.

 “Our Founding Fathers sought to minimize” a “centralized government.” “They knew … you cannot control the economy without controlling people.” So, “either we accept responsibility for our own destiny, or we abandon the American Revolution,” let others “plan our lives for us.”

“Already the time is late,” since “Government has laid its hand on health, housing, farming, industry, commerce, education, and to an ever-increasing degree interfere with the people’s right to know.” This was before the Internet, High Tech, Obamacare, federal mandates, federal unemployment benefits, power-grabs, and anti-state election integrity legislation. 

This was before Democrats pushed Marxism, division through “Critical Race Theory” (CRT), and Justice investigated parents as “domestic terrorists” for opposing CRT, transgender sports and bathrooms, and redefining biology and math.

Reagan used facts to prove government growth disserves America. “Federal welfare spending is today ten times greater than it was in the dark depths of the depression,” then topped $45 billion.

Today? He would shudder. “In the last 20 years alone, state and local welfare spending has more than tripled in nominal dollars, rising from $233 billion nationally in 2000 to $743 billion in 2019,” with welfare spending “up nearly 180% over that span.” Federal numbers make it worse. See, e.g., The US states spending the most on welfare.

Reagan was right; freedom leaks slowly until the bucket is empty, people at the mercy of a massive, centralized government – suppressing once-cherished rights.

He knew the Socialist tricks. “It seems impossible to legitimately debate” believing “all of us share the desire to help those less fortunate.” Instead, liberals use false assumptions.

Reagan gets ironic. “It isn’t so much that Liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”  Helping Americans prosper is about freedom and opportunity, not dependence.

On Social Security, why not “put this program on a sound actuarial basis, so that those who depend on it won’t come to the cupboard and find it bare, and at the same time … introduce voluntary features so that those who can make better provision for themselves are allowed to?”

Internationally, “seek peace,” but never “subordinate … American interests to an organization so structurally unsound that two-thirds majority can be mustered in the U.N. General Assembly among nations representing less than 10 percent of the world population.”  

He decries the “conspiracy of silence” on Communism while we are “doling out money” to “finance socialism all over the world.” The road to hell, good intentions?

He assails widespread public corruption, hypocrisy, ceaseless government growth through ignorance, indifference, and complicity by those elected to keep government limited.

“Under bureaucratic regulations adopted with no regard to the wish of the people, we have lost much of our Constitutional freedom.”  He reminds “socialism can come without overt seizure of property or nationalization of private business.”  You do not need a Bolshevik or Maoist Revolution, just creeping incursions, wild expenditures, vote-buying, the concentration of power.

Threats take many forms, not least – as federal mandates – siphoning of freedom until the “government can dictate policy and procedure … has life and death power over your business.”

As he tapers, Reagan says: “We approach a point of no return when government becomes so huge and entrenched that we fear the consequences of upheaval and just go along with it.”

So, he asks: “Are you willing to spend time studying the issues … will you resist the temptation to get a government handout? … We must have the courage to do what is morally right …”

What is that, then? “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We can preserve for our children this last best hope for man on earth, or we can sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness.” 

Our job – today, as in 1964 – is to stand up for freedom and to win, or let future generations say, at least: “We did all that could be done.” That is our mission now. Reagan’s words echo.


We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...

Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.

Donate Now

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter
and Download the AMAC News App

Sign Up Today Download

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!


Subscribe
Notify of
15 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Karen Ann E.
3 months ago

I agree that Ronald Reagan was one of the best presidents our country ever had. He told the US citizens the truth. In the years since his presidency, too many people have been brain washed with the leftist lies. These people look for “Free” handouts & the left-wing politicians tell them what they want to hear. Consequently, in the past few elections, “secret” anti-Americans have been elected to state & federal positions. I feel that Donald J, Trump was another great president & would have done a lot more if the left-wing radicals had let him be “President”

johnh
3 months ago

Ronald Reagan was the best POTUS in my lifetime. Can only wish that another person like him comes along to run for POTUS & put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

David Hammond
3 months ago

Best president in the history of the USA.

Steven
3 months ago
Reply to  David Hammond

I believe that he was the second of three best Presidents…#1) George Washington, #2) Ronald Reagan and #3) Donald Trump.

johnh
3 months ago
Reply to  Steven

Trump bashed too many fellow Americans in public during his term, and that is not Presidential in my opinion. POTUS should treat all Americans equal.

Gunny Joe
3 months ago
Reply to  johnh

Have you ever thought that they needed bashing?

Ttubbs
3 months ago
Reply to  johnh

Bashed no one who hadn’t wronged him first, and he had to bash and tweet just to get his message out from around the iron curtain of media Marxism, censorship and propaganda that exists today. Reagan chose to take his message to the American people in speeches since TV and Radio were the only outlets to do that in his time without the censorship in editing of the newspapers and magazines. Trump amassed a host of twitter followers to get his message out unaltered, and the press turned that against him since he was bypassing their Marxist filter. We should all think for ourselves as RR and DJT were able to do, rather we have the ultimate lemming in the WH now…and America suffers.

johnh
3 months ago
Reply to  David Hammond

Agree with you 100%, he was a true leader of Americans.

PaulE
3 months ago

Yes RBC, that was a great Reagan speech. He told the truth in plain and simple terms and the American people loved it. However, do you also remember the response the establishment Republican Party gave him. It wasn’t good. While the American people may have loved it, the Republican Party wasn’t thrilled. That was the start of the Republican Party’s efforts to ensure he wouldn’t be the Party’s nominee for President. Thankfully on Reagan’s second attempt, he was successful and America enjoyed a much needed recovery from the horrible Carter years.

Gunny Joe
3 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

I have off wondered what President Regan could have done if the Republican Party would have got on board with him. The Rinos hurt him the same way that they hurt President Trump. They just want to represent what they think is best or the real dark money that keeps them in office, i.e., roy blunt. Glad he is retiring, and I have voted for him too many times as he was the only choice, could not primary him out. One of those that looked good at the start as a Rep. then stayed way too long.

Ttubbs
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunny Joe

Same way with Richard Shelby, longtime democrat “turned” Republican in ’94 so he could keep his seat. His effectiveness went away over 20 years ago, just now retiring. His “moderate” business lobby groups, chambers of commerce and business council of Alabama, are fronting a young woman hand picked candidate they can control. Thankfully, we have a congressman who is backed by Trump and is an economist and attorney by trade, and is a true CONSERVATIVE. Our other Senator is a do-nothing place holder, hope that we can replace him in 2026 with an activist CONSERVATIVE so that my state can have the voice it deserves rather than special interest toadies. Jeff Sessions was our best senator, just outran his coverage when he aligned with Trump.

Max
3 months ago

Thanks RBC, wonderful article. The nation definitely needs a Reagan style person to emerge to lead this country and for a Congress to repeal the idiotic laws that have been passed since Reagan’s tenure as President.

PaulE
3 months ago
Reply to  Max

We had one Max and he accomplished more positive results in 4 years than most Presidents accomplish in two full terms. The question is have the American people learned anything or we will simply go back to choosing between two career politicians and being disappointed when the results don’t match their lofty campaign rhetoric? You can train anyone to deliver a good speech, but what set Reagan apart at the time was his actions matched his rhetoric.

As for Congress, the same rules apply. How many politicians do we elect and then re-elect that make lofty promises during their campaigns and as soon as they get to Washington, their actions are completely different?

Max
3 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

For the American people about Congress members: “STOP REPEAT OFFENDERS — DON’T RE-ELECT THEM”. Will the American people take heed???

Patty L
3 months ago

Excellent article! I hope and pray it’s not too late for America!

15
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x