A Political Revelation

I’ve had a day or so to review how maudlin I’d become due to the prospects that either Dumbo or Grumpy will occupy the White House, how disenfranchised America seems to be with the two-party system’s entrenchment into our political process that has pretty much eliminated alternative (and perhaps better) choices, and how government policies which caused the financial crisis in which we find ourselves are being altered in order to try and fix it…but whose meddling will likely not be the panacea that politicians believe.

Because, while we’re in the depths of despair at the moment, there is a light.  A signal in the darkness that shines brighter than that of any other nation.

“America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.”

Ronald Reagan said those words.  And no truer words have been spoken, in my opinion, on what America is, and will continue to be.

We’ve weathered storms, real and political; survived hurricanes, real and spiritual; and fought back from adversity, financial and military. 

We are the shining city upon the hill.

We are the Grand Experiment that nobody thought would last.  We are the nascent nation who, in its adolescence, has far out-produced, out-earned, out-performed and out-witted.

We’ve seen dictators come and go while our system of bloodless power handover has continued unabated since our foundation.  We helped win the War to End All Wars.  Then we did it again.  Our economy tanked, but we bounced back stronger than ever.  And we did it again.

We are the shining city upon the hill.

We landed the first man on the moon.  And the second.  And the third.  We built a reusable space vehicle, an orbiting space station, and launched satellites that make us the most powerful nation on earth. 

We are the shining city upon the hill.

We cured polio, can land tons of food aid anywhere in the world in a matter of hours, and have the finest medical services available to mankind.  We split the atom, for good and bad. 

We are the shining city upon the hill.

We are America, a nation founded upon Christian principles yet accepting of all faiths. 

We are America, a nation founded of the people, by the people and for the people. 

We are America, where we live not by another man’s leave, but by hacking our way out of the wilderness, bearing our children along the way. 

We are America, the nation for which people willingly risk death to get here, all for a chance at the American Dream.

We are the shining city upon the hill.

I refuse to believe two cartoon characters have so much influence that they can destroy this nation.  To believe otherwise is to doubt the very essence of what makes our nation what it is. 

I refuse to believe that we are incapable of overcoming the pettiness demonstrated by career politicians who have “erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”  To believe otherwise is to cast aside the very document that began this great experiment.

We are that shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.

And I will never, not ever, believe otherwise.

I leave you with the parting words of the greatest president I’ve known in the few short years I’ve spent on this rock.  There may have been others greater than he, but he brought into office with him the one thing that America needed more than anything else at the time, and what we can most assuredly use again: 

Hope.

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it and see it still.

And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that; after 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.

We’ve done our part. And as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for eight years did the work that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren’t just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger. We made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all.

And so, good-bye, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

—Ronald Wilson Reagan, President, United States of America, January 11, 1989

TimW
Phoenix

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