I was intrigued by a discussion that took place on Glenn Beck's radio program today. It seems that he has created quite the discussion amongst "Good Republicans" by stating that he might very well have voted for Hillary Clinton over John McCain, because had John McCain been elected President we would have had many similar domestic policies enacted, and there would have been less of a motivating factor for the current Conservative groundswell that is clearly reaching across this great nation.
Some on the right seem to believe that to have a Republican in office is the solution, and that no matter what, a political landscape filled with Republicans will always offer a better chance for good policy than any other scenario.
I have learned through my transition from being a Liberal to being a Conservative that such a perspective has done great damage to our nation over the course of the last forty years or so. In my younger days, my perspective was the opposite - I thought only Liberals would make good policy. I learned that I was wrong, and now I believe that I am better served and more politically astute and intuitive than I used to be.
This is the position that (I believe) Beck represents as well. As he took calls today, it became interesting to listen to the callers who said they "get it" and are "on board" with his message, yet some of them continued to beat the partisan drum and attempt to draw everything down party lines. Glenn became increasingly frustrated, particularly with one caller, because he didn't "get it" at all. This caller just wanted to liberal-bash, and it was moving the conversation backwards rather than forwards.
Right at the close of his show, a caller mentioned that to find the truth in Conservatism and to have hope for a better future regardless of how uncomfortable things may be today, we should find Ronald Reagan's 1977 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Some of you may already be familiar with this speech. It is truly amazing. I had heard of it, but never read it in its entirety.
I recommend that you take the time to really read this speech. There are amazing similarities between 1977 and today.
Some of the social issues remain the same today as they were then. Abortion, for example. While not today's hottest topic, it is always a topic of great debate. What now is being called "Social Justice" by Obama was then known as "quotas," as we were in earlier stages of the ever-failing concept of affirmative action.
Watergate and the remnants of Vietnam parallel Iraq, and Nixon parallels George W. Bush in the way each led people to distrust government on a whole. Therefore Nixon (and Ford who never stood a chance) led to Carter just as Bush 43 led to Obama.
The Cold War of Reagan's era was what we see in Radical Islamic Terrorism today. The organization and structure of our enemy is different, but the desire of our enemy is the same: to destroy freedom.
The polling data he presents in this speech is remarkable, if not downright eerily similar to that which we have heard recently. We are in an amazingly similar political climate today as that which brought Dutch to the forefront of American politics.
There is a complete misunderstanding in the media today of what Conservatism is as compared to the Republican party; the same seemed to be true as Reagan brought Conservatives together in a great American resurgence.
We were under the presidency of a young inexperienced far left leaning Liberal, just as we are today - and although in February 1977 Carter had just become president a few weeks before this speech, the writing was on the wall; Conservatism needed a leader, and Reagan was the man for the time. We must seek to recognize our leader, the man or woman whose time is now.
There is no shortage of greatness in this speech, as you will soon understand. For me, one particular paragraph stood out as probably the most profound:
"Let us lay to rest, once and for all, the myth of a small group of ideological purists trying to capture a majority. Replace it with the reality of a majority trying to assert its rights against the tyranny of powerful academics, fashionable left-revolutionaries, some economic illiterates who happen to hold elective office and the social engineers who dominate the dialogue and set the format in political and social affairs. If there is any ideological fanaticism in American political life, it is to be found among the enemies of freedom on the left or right—those who would sacrifice principle to theory, those who worship only the god of political, social and economic abstractions, ignoring the realities of everyday life. They are not conservatives."
I was also amazed by the number of times in this speech Reagan referenced 'wisdom' and 'common sense.' I'm flattered...
This is a link to a complete copy of Reagan's 1977 CPAC speech, which is clearly guided by principles.