Reagan’s Messages about Liberty

July/03/2012 16:26PM
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I am not a collector. But, I had two items I kept and cherished through the years. The first has been lost. It was a golf scorecard from a round I played with Neil Armstrong. I was paired with him at a golf outing in Florida. He signed the scorecard. I showed it to my Mother, who I visited in Florida after the round. Her comment was priceless. She said, “it’s like having something signed by Christopher Columbus”. I asked her if she wanted it. She said yes, and it was always displayed in her home. When she passed away and her effects were packed up it got tossed.

The second, which I still have, is a picture of my wife and me with Ronald Reagan, the greatest president in my lifetime. He was a speaker at a business conference we attended and we had the opportunity to not only hear him in person, but to meet him and have a picture taken.

The author with President Reagan

As this Independence Day is here, I think a lot about President Reagan. He talked a lot about liberty and independence, reminding us of the greatness of America and what makes it great.

One of his quotes is “we are a nation that has a government and not the other way around.” It’s only been 26 years since he said that, but today one wonders if it’s more  or less true.

Here are some of his other quotes as well.

this excerpt from his 1985 inaugural address:

“We are creating a nation once again vibrant, robust, and alive. There are many mountains yet to climb. We will not rest until every American enjoys the fullness of freedom, dignity, and opportunity as our birthright. It is our birthright as citizens of this great republic.”

Or this excerpt from his 1981 inaugural address:

“It is not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work — work with us, not over us; stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.”

And finally, savor his positive characterization of the beauty of the free enterprise system:

“We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefitting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development.”

It bothers me a great deal that we have strayed from the path Reagan took us back down. Every day I see government playing a bigger and bigger role in the lives of Americans. Telling us how much we need more government. Telling us what size drinks we can drink. Pushing us, our children, and our grand children into the path of government dependence.

Who is here today to once again remind us of the lessons of Reagan? Who speaks to us with such conviction. It wasn’t just Reagan’s words that stirred this nation, but the feeling he was just telling us the truth. Telling us what he really believed, not what some poll told him would get votes.

He was a true leader and it was easy to follow his lead.

We, as a nation, seem to be at a fork in road. We can go back to feeling good about our country and what made it great, or give up and stick our hand out and wait for our government to put something in that hand. A trade off for giving up another freedom.

The upcoming election will decide what path we take. I  pray to God it will be the path of liberty and back to a country that has a government not a government that has a country.


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