I grew up thinking Ronald Reagan was wrong for America; that his conservatism was the antithesis of America. I know now how wrong that view, obtained via my parents, was. Ronald Reagan was a man of deep conviction and principle. He was both indomitable in his belief that his principles were correct, and indefatigable in defending them against assaults from all fronts.
Ronald Reagan called things like he saw them. He did not bend principle to fit the whim of the day. Was he always correct? No, but he drew lines in the sand and stuck by them. That is the essence of leadership. That is what inspired our Nation and made his presidency an awesome success.
On this day in 1983, he gave an address to the National Association of Evangelicals that is today known as the “Evil Empire” speech from the language he used to refer to the Soviet Union. I hope you take the time to watch and listen to the entirety of Reagan’s speech.
If you can’t watch, you can get a transcript courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library here. Actually, get the transcript anyway as the video ends before the speech did. There’s too much wonderful content to pick and choose quotes; it should be held in its entirety.
Much of the consternation held by conservatives over the likely 2012 GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, goes back to his squishy positions, to equivocation of principle. I don’t agree with all of Rick Santorum’s positions, for example, but I have greater respect for him over his decision to take principled stands and stick by them, come what may, against all-comers.
I work in sales. I develop complex technical solutions for my customers. When I decide on the right way to present a solution to solve a customer’s problem, I don’t equivocate. I don’t back down. I stand by my proposals. Sometimes I lose, but more often I win, and I credit strength in principles as a huge contributor to that record. That is a lesson of the life and presidency of Ronald Reagan, and that’s why he’s today’s finest hour.