Newsletter Oct 21, 2010
A Nation Worth Fighting For
Many reading this commentary today will recall a speech Ronald Reagan gave as the Republican National Convention was drawing to a close in 1976. Reagan had just lost a very tough fight with President Ford for the Republican nomination, yet, somehow he remained focused more than ever on the battle that really mattered--- the battle to preserve our Republic and the freedoms and opportunities that only it offers.
As he took to the microphone that evening, Reagan told the audience of an “assignment” he had been given. It seems that a group in California had asked him to write a letter to be placed in a time capsule, to be opened a century later.
“Then as I tried to write -- let your own minds turn to that task. You are going to write for people a hundred years from now, who know all about us. We know nothing about them. We don't know what kind of a world they will be living in.
…we live in a world in which the great powers have poised and aimed at each other horrible missiles of destruction, nuclear weapons that can in a matter of minutes arrive at each other's country and destroy, virtually, the civilized world we live in.
And suddenly it dawned on me, those who would read this letter a hundred years from now will know whether those missiles were fired.
They will know whether we met our challenge. Whether they have the freedoms that we have known up until now will depend on what we do here.
Will they look back with appreciation and say, "Thank God for those people in 1976 who headed off that loss of freedom, who kept us now 100 years later free, who kept our world from nuclear destruction"?
And if we failed, they probably won't get to read the letter at all because it spoke of individual freedom, and they won't be allowed to talk of that or read of it.
This is our challenge; and this is why here in this hall tonight, better than we have ever done `before, we have got to quit talking to each other and about each other and go out and communicate to the world that we may be fewer in numbers than we have ever been, but we carry the message they are waiting for.”
Today, our charge remains no less important. Our Capitol is now dominated by men and women who are willing to exchange greater debt and diminished freedoms in the future for short term political gain today. The threat posed by these selfish actions is very real and it is imminent.
How we respond to the crisis posed by our $13.6 trillion national debt ($44,000 per man, woman, and child), an expanding federal government, and the resulting erosion of freedom and opportunity will determine whether the American experiment will survive as envisioned by our Founders.
On November 2, we must elect leaders who understand that their every action will go into that same time capsule of history. As Reagan closed that night, he told the audience: “We must go forth from here united, determined that what a great general said a few years ago is true: There is no substitute for victory…”
Tom A. Coburn, MD
The Federal government funds at least 20 separate programs at 12 different agencies to deal with invasive species.