Thursday, August 20, 2009
Recently, I traveled to Berlin to visit the Brandenburg Gate, where my father 22 years ago delivered his famous "Tear Down this Wall" speech, and I was reminded of his triumphant work to defeat the evils of communism.
In an age where many around the globe seem determined to force the "American Era" behind us, this moment showed me, once again, what can be accomplished when America stands up to lead the world. Through the courage, bravery and ingenuity of all Americans of several generations, we defeated communism, just as we will defeat the challenges we face today, if we hold firm to the principles that have guided our country so far.
These principles, of limited government, lower taxes, free markets, a strong national defense and individual rights and responsibilities, were enshrined by our founding fathers long ago. Today, with government spending increasing astronomically, with the prospect of one-fifth of our economy - in the form of the health care system - being turned over to government controls, with fewer demands for personal responsibility, these guidelines are all the more important. Thirty years ago, my father understood this, and that legacy has passed down to us.
America is, by definition, a nation of survivors, dating back to our founding days. Throughout our history, we have overcome the many obstacles before us with determined grit, hard work and a pioneering spirit - rather than expecting someone else to bail us out. Despite the difficulties we face today, if we have the optimism and courage of our forefathers - and that of my father - we can be confident in the outcome.
We will not always agree, but in respecting dissenting opinion, we grow even stronger in our determination to follow our own shared values. Americans are increasingly - and rightfully - growing skeptical of policies that emphasize expensive government solutions, as opposed to empowering individuals, families and small businesses. The media has dismissed conservatives as demoralized and dysfunctional. While the mainstream media has clearly missed the full picture on that count, it is time for Americans of all stripes to come together to reassert our strength and fight for our freedoms.
Across the country, Americans have taken time out of their hectic schedules to participate in town halls, making their voices heard in the debate. I am proud to be coming to Colorado to join with them in this. Later this month, I will have the honor of speaking at the inaugural Freedom Conference held by The Steamboat Institute. The Steamboat Institute is a true grass-roots organization, dedicated to individual liberty and the freedoms that formed the cornerstone of our great nation.
Some have said we will be coming together in the ultimate town hall meeting - a chance for a substantive, dignified discussion of what is at stake for us. I am looking forward to it.
What better place to have such a conversation than in beautiful Colorado, a state whose adventuresome, courageous spirit is mirrored in its political independence. In Steamboat Springs, standing at an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet, we will start to build the foundation to again become the "shining city on a hill" that my father knew we could be.
It's time to come together and talk seriously about the hard issues we face. Together, we can help to ensure peace and prosperity for this and future generations.
Michael Reagan is a best-selling author, radio host, eldest son of President Ronald W. Reagan and chairman of the Reagan Group. He will speak at the Steamboat Institute's inaugural Freedom Conference, Aug. 28 and 29 at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel.