Today is President Ronald Reagan’s birthday (6 February 1911 – 5 June 2004). Before serving as President, Reagan served as Governor of California; and before he was Governor, he delivered a speech called “A Time for Choosing” that thrust him into the political spotlight.
This section of the speech seems to relate as much or more to us today as it did to his audience then:
You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down — up to man’s age-old dream; the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism, and regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.
I like that a lot. Not left or right, not progressive or conservative, but up or down.
Reagan gave that speech on 27 October 1964. I don’t know if my parents watched it on television; I certainly don’t remember, since I was just over four months old at the time. But it resonates with me, and I remain committed to moving “up” — toward greater freedom within the bounds of the law, rather than down toward more constraints on our lives.
Who’s with me?by