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Monday, February 06, 2006


Quote-a-palooza - Reagan's Birthday Edition
"Our enemies may be irrational, even outright insane, driven by nationalism, religion, ethnicity or ideology. They do not fear the United States for its diplomatic skills or the number of automobiles and software programs it produces. They respect only the firepower of our tanks, planes and helicopter gunships." —Ronald Reagan

"The churches of America do not exist by the grace of the state; the churches of America are not mere citizens of the state. The churches of America exist apart; they have their own vantage point, their own authority. Religion is its own realm; it makes its own claims. We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief." —Ronald Reagan

"Families must continue to be the foundation of our nation. Families—not government programs—are the best way to make sure our children are properly nurtured, our elderly are cared for, our cultural and spiritual heritages are perpetuated, our laws are observed and our values are preserved. Thus it is imperative that our government's programs, actions, officials and social welfare institutions never be allowed to jeopardize the family. We fear the government may be powerful enough to destroy our families; we know that it is not powerful enough to replace them. The New Republican Party must be committed to working always in the interest of the American family." —Ronald Reagan

"[W]e've got to teach history based not on what's in fashion but what's important—why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. You know...on the 40th anniversary of D-day, I read a letter from a young woman writing to her late father, who'd fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, 'we will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did.' Well, let's help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are. I'm warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let's start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual. And let me offer lesson number one about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven't been teaching you what it means to be an American, let 'em know and nail 'em on it. That would be a very American thing to do." —Ronald Reagan

"We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free." —Ronald Reagan, 6 June 1984, Omaha Beach, Normandy, France

"And I hope that someday your children and grandchildren will tell of the time that a certain president came to town at the end of a long journey and asked their parents and grandparents to join him in setting America on the course to the new millennium—and that a century of peace, prosperity, opportunity, and hope followed. So, if I could ask you just one last time: Tomorrow, when mountains greet the dawn, would you go out there and win one for the Gipper?" —Ronald Reagan

"The character that takes command in moments of crucial choices has already been determined by a thousand other choices made earlier in seemingly unimportant moments. It has been determined by all the 'little' choices of years past—by all those times when the voice of conscience was at war with the voice of temptation, [which was] whispering the lie that 'it really doesn't matter.' It has been determined by all the day-to-day decisions made when life seemed easy and crises seemed far away—the decision that, piece by piece, bit by bit, developed habits of discipline or of laziness; habits of self-sacrifice or self-indulgence; habits of duty and honor and integrity—or dishonor and shame." —Ronald Reagan

"America was born in the midst of a great revolution sparked by oppressive taxation. There was something about the American character—open, hard-working, and honest—that rebelled at the very thought of taxes that were not only heavy but unfair. Today the proud American character remains unchanged. But slowly and subtly, surrendering first to this political pressure and then to that, our system of taxation has turned into something completely foreign to our nature—something complicated, unfair, and, in a fundamental sense, un-American. Well, my friends, the time has come for a second American revolution." —Ronald Reagan

"Ronald Reagan was the antidote to the nihilism of the Sixties... The ancient creed—the massive fact of the American idea—seemed to be teetering. Ronald Reagan was the political antidote to this shrunken view of America. He reminded us that we stood for something great, that we were made of sterner stuff than the nay-sayers implied. He not only made the right arguments and proposed sound policies, but his very person, his character, was such as to make it entirely believable. This was an entirely American man. It is almost impossible to disagree with a man who is full of hope, who looks you in the eye and tells you that you are capable of both self-government and greatness, while joking and laughing all the while. The insensate Liberals mocked him for his cowboy boots and hat, for his clear and straightforward talk, for his eternal hopefulness. By doing this they revealed for the first time in American politics that they were no longer the party of the people: They had come to mistrust the ordinary and decent. Reagan could be for the people because he truly was of the people. Reagan trusted the people and their capacity for self-government. Everyone but the elites sensed this. The Liberal elites underestimated him just the way they underestimated the American people." —Peter Schramm

"Republicans may like to brag that they are the party of Ronald Reagan and are dedicated to the policies and principles for which my dad stood, but they are acting more like members of the party of Lyndon Johnson. Panicked by the potential of the growing Abramoff scandal which threatens to ensnare a multitude of members of Congress, Republicans are running around scattering contributions from the lobbyist and his clients in all directions in an effort to show how much they abhor even the appearance of having taken from them what now may be tainted funds. They simply cannot understand that the problem is not with Abramoff and other lobbyists having bought access with their clients' money, but with themselves because of their shameful lack of integrity. They talk about reforming the system when if they really want true reform they will start by reforming themselves. If they want to be like Ronald Reagan they need to start acting like Ronald Reagan." —Michael Reagan

"Despite the alleged moral darkness, and easy epithets like Bill Clinton's calling the 1980's the 'decade of greed,' the people knew better. They knew that the kindly gentleman in the White House was both competent and trustworthy. They didn't want the 1988 election to happen because it raised the possibility that the next president would take things back to the way they were before: he might be incompetent like Carter, or untrustworthy, like Nixon. And so they mourned the political passing of the Reagan presidency, wishing it didn't have to happen... Draw a straight line from 1979 to the present, and try to imagine what America would look like now without Reagan in between. You know what I think? I think it would look like France: a debilitated economy, a first-monkey foreign policy that can see no evil, the squandering of a heritage of greatness and leadership. We were headed that way. But Ronald Reagan changed the direction of the arrow. He never told us the road would be easy, but he did tell us our best days were ahead of us... The challenge for us today is to arise tomorrow from today's mourning, and be the heroes he told us we are." —Jay Bryant

"The past few days when I've been at that window upstairs, I've thought a bit of the 'shining city upon a hill.' The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we'd call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free. I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still. And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that: After two hundred years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness toward home. We've done our part. And as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for eight years did the work that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren't just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all." —Ronald Reagan, Farewell Address, 1989

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