"Voices have been raised trying to rekindle in our country all of the great ideas and principles which set this nation apart from all the others that preceded it, but louder and more strident voices utter easily sold cliches."
– Ronald Reagan, Jan. 25, 1974
When my father landed in Normandy in June 1944, being one of 156,000 allied personnel and resulting in 2,500 Americans losing their lives, it was understood that without those American sacrifices and without America leading the way in retaking Europe from the Nazi war machine, Europe would have continued to be enslaved for the coming generations.
Between 1900 and 1910, when 9 million immigrants arrived in this country, they came looking for opportunity. They were escaping from the chains placed upon them by tyrants and royalty, denying them the basic God-given freedoms guaranteed to American citizens by a simple proclamation known as our Constitution. They came looking for a chance to make a better life for themselves, to exercise their rights to showcase their own determination, hard work and motivation that they’d never be allowed from whence they came.
In 1974, when then-presidential wannabe Ronald Reagan gave his speech titled “We Will Be a City Upon a Hill,” few could have predicted its impact on Reagan’s legacy as well as the meaning it would have for all Americans who had endured the failed political war effort of Vietnam as well as the turbulence of the ’60s that was witnessed on our city streets and college campuses slamming our American ideals.
His speech offered not only direction for a floundering nation but reiterated that America was not only relevant, but as his last line so eloquently stated, “the last best hope of man on earth.” It was a line borrowed from the 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.
Liberal critics rushed to castigate the former governor from California. They labeled him old fashioned and out of touch, even while many of those critics were already preparing their plans in leading the U.S. down a socialist path. Even then, the cynics declared him a warmonger who was merely defending a greedy and racist nation.
But Reagan had history on his side. As he boasted of his homeland in the very same speech, “One-half of all economic activity in the entire history of man has taken place in this republic. We have distributed our wealth more widely among our people than any society known to man.” Reagan acknowledged that America had not been perfect, and yet we were willing to confront whatever those shortcomings were and make amends. He talked about America’s kindliness. Aside from our materialism, he reminded us, “We also have more churches, more libraries; we support voluntarily more symphony orchestras and opera companies, nonprofit theaters, and publish more books than all the other nations of the world put together.”
Now, nearly 40 years later, we face a progressive political movement that would remake America into a replica of the Europe that those immigrants from a century before sought to escape.
As our national debt approaches $16 trillion, meaning that every man, woman and child (who are American citizens) holds a share on average of close to $60,000, it is understood by everyone, including those on the left, that America will eventually lose its heralded position as the leader of the free world. In fact, I wonder if there will be any free world left once America allows itself to be pushed into the corner.
In a recent Rasmussen poll taken of American adults, only 43 percent believe their country remains as “the last best hope of mankind.” That is down a whopping 12 percent from the last time Rasmussen asked the question in May 2010.
Along with the unemployment numbers, the resistance of the current administration to tap into our energy reserves in order to appease radical environmentalists, the skyrocketing inflation rates, our immigration problem and the plans to downsize our military from its already historically low numbers mean that the future doesn’t look bright.
If this republic can no longer be “the last best hope of man on earth,” will that simply mean there will be no hope at all?
That is not acceptable.