Thursday marks the tenth anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s death. He has been out of the public eye for 20 years, and it has been 30 years since he was re-elected as the nation’s 40th president in a landslide vote. 50 years ago this fall, he delivered his famous speech, “A Time for Choosing.”
Yet, even now, Reagan continues to inspire.
I first met Kevin Ford at a golf tournament several years ago. Kevin, his wife and another young couple had started a 501-c3 charity with the goal of improving the quality of life for children with a variety of challenges, including everything from cancer to child abuse. Think of it as a Georgia based version of the Make a Wish Foundation, but run by volunteers. Because he had worked at Disney World, he named the charity Kingdom Kids and he was a hole sponsor looking for donations.
Like many in the millennial cohort, Kevin became involved in community service, but I had never known him to talk about politics. This week, while in California, Kevin visited the Ronald Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara. His visit inspired him to write the following Facebook post, which is repeated here with permission.
Ok….deep breath…..so spending time at the Reagan Library today really got me thinking about politics – something most people RUN from when they see on Facebook. So, if you are getting the urge to move on since I said that word, PLEASE READ ON because that’s kind of the point!! I personally believe that’s why we are in this mess and by not making adjustments, we must live with the consequences that apathy causes. So many voting Americans are uneducated, even many people I consider dear friends – not academically….but politically uneducated because it’s become an unfashionable thing to talk about. No one reads the paper anymore. No one I know watches the major news networks because no one knows which one, if any, to believe. No one really understands how it all affects them and their life today or next week. No one wants to add stress to their already stressful lives. No one has time for it all. No one wants preaching and I get all of that. But that IS the problem!
Today, as I watched Ronald Reagan’s speech given 16 years before he was even president (“A Time for Choosing” in Oct 1964), I found it alarming how similar our concerns of 40-50 years ago were to where they are RIGHT NOW. We were worried about nuclear war and terrorism, worried about the economy, worried about unemployment, worried about the government infringing on our freedoms, and just what it meant to be American, and mainly about solutions – how we turn things around. Obama is basically the anti-thesis to everything Reagan said (including the most recent negotiations with terrorists – namely our most hated enemy). And that quite frankly scares the hell out of me for my daughters future. What’s worse is, she won’t have one if we continue down this path. As Reagan’s friend put it, “at least back in Cuba, they had somewhere to escape to.” Americans don’t. Obama scares me. But what scares me worse? The majority of voting Americans who put him into office in the first place.
America is the world’s last hope for democracy and freedom. And we are destroying it – by allowing those we place into office to do so. Yes I said WE. WE are destroying America. WE who dont want to listen to political debates and place an educated vote. WE who change the station on TV or Radio when politics comes on because “ehhh they’re all crooked anyway”. WE who vote (or don’t) to place people into these positions and then only complain when they don’t govern the way we want. WE who don’t stand behind a party of any sort because Republicans and Democrats are all crooked. WE who don’t vote in November because we would vote Libertarian and they’ll never get a majority vote anyway so why waste my time. WE, the people, have the power in a democracy. That power gives us Responsibility = the ability to choose our response.
Its the same WE who can change everything. Its WE who can impeach. Its WE who can vote differently next time around. Its WE who can create petitions. Its WE who can do something about it. Just like the founders of this country did. And its WE who have the RESPONSIBILITY as Americans to do just that. Or its WE, who all need to shut our mouths from complaining about that which we created and yet choose not to unite and change.
This was my first real Facebook rant. Hopefully you made it this far. If you agree with me or don’t on political views, I really don’t mind. I just want you to be passionate and proactive one way or the other and to educate yourself politically on the US, our current state, this President, the world, and how our position in the world is changing faster than most realize – militarily, economically, geopolitically, etc. I don’t mind someone having other views than me due to different perspectives, life experiences or education….
What I do have a problem with is totally capable people who choose to not educate themselves on politics or US/world issues yet still complain, or much worse – vote.
I urge everyone to invest in yourselves and your future – your kids future. Listen to what Reagan said in this speech and determine for yourself if you agree. Decide if these words are applicable in your life today. Decide if you want to raise your kids in the type of society we are in. I don’t. And I hope there are enough people getting as pissed off as I am, to actually make the changes we need.
RONALD REAGAN – OCT 27, 1964 – “A Time for Choosing”