Archive for the ‘Guest Writers’ Category

President Reagan’s Valedictorian: A Reminder of America’s Greatness

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

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The following, published here every 4 years during the Republican National Convention, is President Reagan’s final major speech, given at the 1992 Republican convention. It is considered his political valedictorian message as he issued a public statement 2 years later declaring he had Alzheimer’s disease, thus receding from the public eye physically but never spiritually. It especially has resonance this year as the Republicans struggle to define themselves. The video of such speech can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxL3OU1dwmI
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Thank you, Paul for that kind introduction. And Mr. Chairman, delegates, friends, fellow Americans, thank you so very much for that welcome.  You’ve given Nancy and me so many wonderful memories, so much of your warmth and affection, we cannot thank you enough for the honor of your friendship. Over the years, I’ve addressed this convention as a private citizen, as a governor, as a presidential candidate, as a president and now, once again tonight, as private citizen Ronald Reagan.
reagan 92 convention

 Above: President Reagan delivers his political valedictorian speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention.

Tonight is a very special night for me. Of course, at my age, every night’s a very special night.  After all, I was born in 1911. Indeed, according to the experts, I have exceeded my life expectancy by quite a few years. Now this a source of great annoyance to some, especially those in the Democratic party. But, here’s the remarkable thing about being born in 1911. In my life’s journey over these past eight decades, I have seen the human race through a period of unparalleled tumult and triumph. I have seen the birth of communism and the death of communism. I have witnessed the bloody futility of two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf. I have seen Germany united, divided and united again. I have seen television grow from a parlor novelty to become the most powerful vehicle of communication in history. As a boy I saw streets filled with model-Ts; as a man I have met men who walked on the moon. I have not only seen, but lived the marvels of what historians have called the “American Century.” Yet, tonight is not a time to look backward. For while I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future. So this evening, for just a few minutes, I hope you will let me talk about a country that is forever young.
There was a time when empires were defined by land mass, subjugated peoples, and military might. But the United States is unique because we are an empire of ideals. For two hundred years we have been set apart by our faith in the ideals of democracy, of free men and free markets, and of the extraordinary possibilities that lie within seemingly ordinary men and women. We believe that no power of government is as formidable a force for good as the creativity and entrepreneurial drive of the American people. Those are the ideals that invented revolutionary technologies and a culture envied by people everywhere. This powerful sense of energy has made America synonymous for opportunity the world over. And after generations of struggle, America is the moral force that defeated communism and all those who would put the human soul itself into bondage. Within a few short years, we Americans have experienced the most sweeping changes of this century: the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of the global economy. No transition is without its problems, but as uncomfortable as it may feel at the moment, the changes of the 1990′s will leave America more dynamic and less in danger than at any time in my life. A fellow named James Allen once wrote in his diary, “many thinking people believe America has seen its best days.” He wrote that July 26, 1775.
There are still those who believe America is weakening; that our glory was the brief flash of time called the 20th Century; that ours was a burst of greatness too bright and brilliant to sustain; that America’s purpose is past. My friends, I utterly reject those views. That’s not the America we know. We were meant to be masters of destiny, not victims of fate. Who among us would trade America’s future for that of any other country in the world? And who could possibly have so little faith in our America that they would trade our tomorrows for our yesterdays? I’ll give you a hint. They put on quite a production in New York a few weeks ago. You might even call it slick. A stone’s throw from Broadway it was, and how appropriate. Over and over they told us they are not the party they were. They kept telling us with straight faces that they’re for family values, they’re for a strong America, they’re for less intrusive government. And they call me an actor.
To hear them talk, you’d never know that the nightmare of nuclear annihilation has been lifted from our sleep. You’d never know that our standard of living remains the highest in the world. You’d never know that our air is cleaner than it was 20 years ago. You’d never know that we remain the one nation the rest of the world looks to for leadership. It wasn’t always this way. We mustn’t forget–even if they would like to– the very different America that existed just 12 years ago; an America with 21 percent interest rates and back to back years of double digit inflation; an America where mortgage payments doubled, paychecks plunged, and motorists sat in gas lines; an America whose leaders told us it was our own fault; that ours was a future of scarcity and sacrifice; and that what we really needed was another good dose of government control and higher taxes. It wasn’t so long ago that the world was a far more dangerous place as well. It was a world where aggressive Soviet communism was on the rise and American strength was in decline. It was a world where our children came of age under the threat of nuclear holocaust. It was a world where our leaders told us that standing up to aggressors was dangerous — that American might and determination were somehow obstacles to peace. But we stood tall and proclaimed that communism was destined for the ash heap of history. We never heard so much ridicule from our liberal friends. The only thing that got them more upset was two simple words: “Evil Empire.” But we knew then what the liberal Democrat leaders just couldn’t figure out: the sky would not fall if America restored her strength and resolve. The sky would not fall if an American president spoke the truth. The only thing that would fall was the Berlin Wall. I heard those speakers at that other convention saying “we won the Cold War” — and I couldn’t help wondering, just who exactly do they mean by “we”? And to top it off, they even tried to portray themselves as sharing the same fundamental values of our party! What they truly don’t understand is the principle so eloquently stated by Abraham Lincoln: “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.” If we ever hear the Democrats quoting that passage by Lincoln and acting like they mean it, then, my friends, we will know that the opposition has really changed. Until then, we see all that rhetorical smoke, billowing out from the Democrats, well ladies and gentlemen, I’d follow the example of their nominee. Don’t inhale.
This fellow they’ve nominated claims he’s the new Thomas Jefferson. Well, let me tell you something. I knew Thomas Jefferson. He was a friend of mine. And governor, you’re no Thomas Jefferson.
Now let’s not dismiss our current troubles, but where they see only problems, I see possibilities — as vast and diverse as the American family itself. Even as we meet, the rest of the world is astounded by the pundits and finger pointers who are so down on us as a nation. Well I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — America’s best days are yet to come. Our proudest moments are yet to be. Our most glorious achievements are just ahead. America remains what Emerson called her 150 years ago, “the country of tomorrow.” What a wonderful description and how true. And yet tomorrow might never have happened had we lacked the courage in the 1980′s to chart a course of strength and honor. All the more reason no one should underestimate the importance of this campaign and what the outcome will mean. The stakes are high. The presidency is serious business. We cannot afford to take a chance. We need a man of serious purpose, unmatched experience, knowledge and ability. A man who understands government, who understands our country and who understands the world. A man who has been at the table with Gorbachev and Yeltsin. A man whose performance as commander-in-chief of the bravest and most effective fighting force in history left the world in awe and the people of Kuwait free of foreign tyranny. A man who has devoted more than half of his life to serving his country. A man of decency, integrity and honor. And tonight I come to tell you that I — warmly, genuinely, wholeheartedly support the re-election of George Bush as president United States.
We know President Bush. By his own admission, he is a quiet man, not a showman. He is a trustworthy and levelheaded leader who is respected around the world. His is a steady hand on the tiller through the choppy waters of the ’90s, which is exactly what we need. We need George Bush! Yes, we need Bush. We also need another fighter, a man who happens to be with us this evening, someone who has repeatedly stood up for his deepest convictions. We need our vice president, Dan Quayle.
Now it’s true: a lot of liberal democrats are saying it’s time for a change; and they’re right; the only trouble is they’re pointing to the wrong end of Pennsylvania Avenue. What we should change is a Democratic congress that wastes precious time on partisan matters of absolutely no relevance to the needs of the average American. So to all the entrenched interests along the Potomac — the gavel-wielding chairmen, the bloated staffs, the taxers and takers and congressional rule makers, we have a simple slogan for november 1992: clean house! For you see, my fellow Republicans, we are the change! For 50 of the last 60 years the Democrats have controlled the Senate. And they’ve had the House of Representatives for 56 of the last 60 years. It’s time to clean house. Clean out the privileges and perks. Clean out the arrogance and the big egos. Clean out the scandals, the corner-cutting and the foot-dragging. What kind of job do you think they’ve done during all those years they’ve been running the Congress? You know, I used to say to some of those Democrats who chair every committee in the House: “You need to balance the government’s checkbook the same way you balance your own.” Then I learned how they ran the House bank, and I realized that was exactly what they had been doing! Now, just imagine what they would do if they controlled the executive branch, too!
This is the 21st presidential election in my lifetime, the 16th in which I will cast a ballot. Each of those elections had its shifting moods of the moment, its headlines of one day that were forgotten the next. There have been a few more twists and turns this year than in others, a little more shouting about who was up or down, in or out, as we went about selecting our candidates. But now we have arrived, as we always do, at the moment of truth — the serious business of selecting a president. Now is the time for choosing. As it did 12 years ago, and as we have seen many times in history, our country now stands at a crossroads. There is widespread doubt about our public institutions and profound concern, not merely about the economy but about the overall direction of this great country. And as they did then, the American people are clamoring for change and sweeping reform.
The question we had to ask 12 years ago is the question we ask today: What kind of change can we Republicans offer the American people? Some might believe that the things we have talked about tonight are irrelevant to the choice. These new isolationists claim that the American people don’t care about how or why we prevailed in the great defining struggle of our age — the victory of liberty over our adversaries. They insist that our triumph is yesterday’s news, part of a past that holds no lessons for the future. Well nothing could be more tragic, after having come all this way on the journey of renewal we began 12 years ago, than if America herself forgot the lessons of individual liberty that she has taught to a grateful world.
Emerson was right. We are the country of tomorrow. Our revolution did not end at Yorktown. More than two centuries later, America remains on a voyage of discovery, a land that has never become, but is always in the act of becoming. But just as we have led the crusade for democracy beyond our shores, we have a great task to do together in our own home. Now, I would appeal to you to invigorate democracy in your own neighborhoods. Whether we come from poverty or wealth; whether we are Afro-American or Irish-American; Christian or Jewish, from big cities or small towns, we are all equal in the eyes of God. But as Americans that is not enough we must be equal in the eyes of each other. We can no longer judge each other on the basis of what we are, but must, instead, start finding out who we are. In America, our origins matter less than our destinations and that is what democracy is all about.
A decade after we summoned America to a new beginning, we are beginning still. Every day brings fresh challenges and opportunities to match. With each sunrise we are reminded that millions of our citizens have yet to share in the abundance of American prosperity. Many languish in neighborhoods riddled with drugs and bereft of hope. Still others hesitate to venture out on the streets for fear of criminal violence. Let us pledge ourselves to a new beginning for them. Let us apply our ingenuity and remarkable spirit to revolutionize education in America so that everyone among us will have the mental tools to build a better life. And while we do so, let’s remember that the most profound education begins in the home. And let us harness the competitive energy that built America, into rebuilding our inner cities so that real jobs can be created for those who live there and real hope can rise out of despair. Let us strengthen our health care system so that Americans of all ages can be secure in their futures without the fear of financial ruin. And my friends, once and for all, let us get control of the federal deficit through a Balanced Budget Amendment and line item veto. And let us all renew our commitment. Renew our pledge to day by day, person by person, make our country and the world a better place to live. Then when the nations of the world turn to us and say, “America, you are the model of freedom and prosperity.” We can turn to them and say, “you ain’t seen nothing, yet!”
For me, tonight is the latest chapter in a story that began a quarter of a century ago, when the people of California entrusted me with the stewardship of their dreams. My fellow citizens — those of you here in this hall and those of you at home — I want you to know that I have always had the highest respect for you, for your common sense and intelligence and for your decency. I have always believed in you and in what you could accomplish for yourselves and for others.
And whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way. My fondest hope for each one of you — and especially for the young people here — is that you will love your country, not for her power or wealth, but for her selflessness and her idealism. May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will make the world a little better for your having been here. May all of you as Americans never forget your heroic origins, never fail to seek divine guidance, and never lose your natural, God-given optimism. And finally, my fellow Americans, may every dawn be a great new beginning for America and every evening bring us closer to that shining city upon a hill.
Before I go, I would like to ask the person who has made my life’s journey so meaningful, someone I have been so proud of through the years, to join me. Nancy My fellow Americans, on behalf of both of us, goodbye, and God bless each and every one of you, and God bless this country we love.

Musical Wisdom

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

               Image result for lee ann womack

Lee Ann Womack sums up a life-philosophy pretty well

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I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance….I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’,
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’,
Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance….I hope you dance.
I hope you dance….I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone.)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

Dance….I hope you dance.
I hope you dance….I hope you dance.
I hope you dance….I hope you dance..
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone)

-Lee Ann Womack from the song I Hope You Dance

Memorial Day: President Lincoln Weighs In

Friday, May 27th, 2016

The following, published here every Memorial Day weekend and Veteran’s Day, is a letter from President Lincoln sent to a mother whose sons died in the Civil War for the Union cause

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President Lincoln realized that sacrifice must be made to preserve the republic

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Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

Rebel Rebel

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

 

 The James Dean of pop music weighs in on non-conformity

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You’ve got your mother in a whirl
She’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl
Hey babe, your hair’s alright
Hey babe, let’s go out tonight
You like me, and I like it all
We like dancing and we look divine
You love bands when they’re playing hard
You want more and you want it fast
They put you down, they say I’m wrong
You tacky thing, you put them on

Rebel Rebel, you’ve torn your dress
Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess
Rebel Rebel, how could they know?
Hot tramp, I love you so!

Don’t ya?
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo

You’ve got your mother in a whirl ’cause she’s
Not sure if you’re a boy or a girl
Hey babe, your hair’s alright
Hey babe, let’s stay out tonight
You like me, and I like it all
We like dancing and we look divine
You love bands when they’re playing hard
You want more and you want it fast
They put you down, they say I’m wrong
You tacky thing, you put them on

Rebel Rebel, you’ve torn your dress
Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess
Rebel Rebel, how could they know?
Hot tramp, I love you so!

Don’t ya?
Oh?
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo

Rebel Rebel, you’ve torn your dress
Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess
Rebel Rebel, how could they know?
Hot tramp, I love you so!

You’ve torn your dress, your face is a mess
You can’t get enough, but enough ain’t the test
You’ve got your transmission and your live wire
You got your cue line and a handful of ludes
You wanna be there when they count up the dudes
And I love your dress
You’re a juvenile success
Because your face is a mess
So how could they know?
I said, how could they know?

So what you wanna know
Calamity’s child, chi-chi, chi-chi
Where’d you wanna go?
What can I do for you? Looks like you’ve been there too
‘Cause you’ve torn your dress
And your face is a mess
Ooo, your face is a mess
Ooo, ooo, so how could they know?
Eh, eh, how could they know?
Eh, eh

-The lyrics to David Bowie’s song “Rebel Rebel”

Veteran’s Day: President Lincoln Weighs In

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

The following, published here every Memorial Day weekend and Veteran’s Day, is a letter from President Lincoln sent to a mother whose sons died in the Civil War for the Union cause:

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President Lincoln realized that sacrifice must be made to preserve the republic

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Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

Erasing History

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Erasing shows like The Cosby Show from our collective memories is not the answer to deviant behavior or distasteful  icons

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“…no one can control the ideas other people take from tv. But believing in pop culture and the intelligence of its audience means making it accessible, not sealed off like the last test tube of smallpox virus, to be studied only by hazmat-suited critics lest it contaminate the masses. The worst tool for understanding history is the eraser.

Allowing discomfiting tv shows in our cultural library…..is the right thing for a society that believes in ideas…..tv, like it or not, is part of our history. And those who avoid learning from history are doomed to rerun it.”

-James Poniewozik (Time magazine, July 27, 2015) on the elimination of re-runs of The Cosby Show and The Dukes of Hazzard from television in response to Bill Cosby’s scandals and the recent strong opposing views against the Confederate flag

Memorial Day: President Lincoln Weighs In

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

The following, published here every Memorial Day weekend and Veteran’s Day, is a letter from President Lincoln sent to a mother whose sons died in the Civil War for the Union cause:

__________________________________________________________

President Lincoln realized that sacrifice must be made to preserve the republic

__________________________________________________________

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

Bob Simon: Truthsayer

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

“Miracles these days are exercised by bureaucracies because bureaucracies have such a power over our lives.”

-Bob Simon, the intrepid news reporter, describing his 40 days of captivity in the first Iraq war and a bureaucratic snafu that arguably saved his life

Bob Simon, who died last night, pulled no punches

“And We Won’t Come Back Till It’s Over Over There!”

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

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The following excerpt is from George M. Cohan’s World War I anthem “Over There” which expressed a grit and determination for the U.S. to lead the world right that does not exist with today’s Liberals, especially President Obama

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George M. Cohan, as portrayed by James Cagney, understood the can do spirit of America

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Johnnie, get your gun,
Get your gun, get your gun,
Johnnie show the Hun
Who’s a son of a gun.
Hoist the flag and let her fly,
Yankee Doodle do or die.
Pack your little kit,
Show your grit, do your bit.
Yankee to the ranks,
From the towns and the tanks.
Make your mother proud of you,
And the old Red, White and Blue.

Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there -
That the Yanks are coming,
The Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming
Everywhere.
So prepare, say a prayer,
Send the word, send the word to beware.
We’ll be over, we’re coming over,
And we won’t come back till it’s over
Over there.

-George M. Cohan

The Just Cause: FDR Weighs In

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

FDR knew the difference between good and bad

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The following are excerpts from a prayer from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt transmitted on the radio on D-Day. It refutes the moral relativism of today’s “blame America” mob that somehow this country’s enemy’s are on the same moral plain as the U.S.; they are not:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith……

…..For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice………..

………..And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be……

………With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace — a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.

Amen.

-President Franklin D. Roosevelt – June 6, 1944