Reagan: “A Time for Choosing”

The Actor

     On October 27, 1964, Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) who had recently converted to the Republican Party gave a speech supporting the election of Barry Goldwater as President of the United States.  Goldwater lost to Lyndon Johnson but the speech that lasted less than five minutes and seldom mentioned Barry Goldwater or the election launched Reagan on a political career that would land him in the White House 16 years later. 

Check out the whole speech—there’s text and a YouTube video—on the link below.  The speech was so great, in fact, that it was difficult to select an excerpt but this section addresses the need to confront Communism and the threat of Russia which Reagan did as President:

The President

 “. . . 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.

The Inauguration

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.” And this — this is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater’s “peace through strength.” 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.. . .”

Check out the text and YouTube video of Reagan’s entire speech:  http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/ronaldreaganatimeforchoosing.htm

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