As his turn of office came to an end, it was Ronald Reagan’s nature to leave them laughing.
As soon as I get home to California I plan lean back, kick up my feet and take a long nap. Well, come to think of it, things won’t be all that different after all.
“Now let’s set the record straight. There’s no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there’s only one guaranteed way you can have peace—and you can have it in the next second—surrender.
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We Must Fight
Admittedly, there’s a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face—that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand—the ultimatum. And what then—when Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that we’re retreating under the pressure of the Cold War, and someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically. He believes this because from our side he’s heard voices pleading for “peace at any price” or “better Red than dead,” or as one commentator put it, he’d rather “live on his knees than die on his feet.” And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don’t speak for the rest of us.
You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin—just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ’round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well it’s a simple answer after all.
You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, “There is a price we will not pay.” “There is a point beyond which they must not advance.” Winston Churchill said, “The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we’re spirits—not animals.” And he said, “There’s something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.”
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.
We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”
There was once upon a time that to be a republican in this area in this area of the country felt a little bit like being Gary Cooper in High Noon. Outnumbered in a big way.
But I remember the story about a fella who was running for office as a republican. And he was in a rural area that wasn’t known to be a republican area and he stopped by a farm to do some campaigning.
And when the farmer heard he was a republican his jaw dropped and he said wait right here while I go get Ma. She’s never seen a republican before. So he got her. And the candidate looked around for a podium from which to give his speech.
And the only thing he could find was a pile of that stuff that Bess Truman took 35 years trying to get Harry to call fertilizer. So, he got up on the mound and when they came back he gave his speech.
And at the end of it the farmer said that is the first time I’ve ever heard a republican speech. And the candidate said that’s the first time I’ve ever given a republican speech from a democratic platform.
He exploited his own age fairly well. On that subject, he was happy to aim jokes squarely at himself.
One of my favorite quotations about age comes from Thomas Jefferson. He said, we should never judge a president by his age, only by his work.’ And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.
Just to show you how youthful I am I intend to campaign in all 13 states.
I’ve already lived about 20 years longer than my life expectancy at the time I was born. That’s a source of annoyance to a great many people.
Howard Baker told me on the steps of the capital, at the time of the inaugural,
He said “Mr. President I want you to know I will be with you through thick.”
And I said “What about thin?”
He said “Welcome to Washington”
Winston Churchill said, “The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we’re spirits—not animals.” And he said, “There’s something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.” You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.