“We must go forth from here united, determined that what a great general said a few years ago is true: There is no substitution for victory.”
These spontaneous remarks by Ronald Reagan after losing the GOP nomination to Gerald Ford in 1976 moved the crowd to tears. Michael Reagan, son of Ronald, brings the reader to an up-close and personal level with America’s President in The New Reagan Revolution. Before I continue, I must thank the Leadership Institute for introducing me to the book at CPAC 2015.
It took me a month after receiving the book to actually sit down and start reading it, which is surprising given that a poster of Ronald Reagan in front of the American flag is plastered on my dorm wall. My intention was to start flipping through the pages immediately after returning home from CPAC, but I was delayed. Yes, I am busy, but scheduling time to read for pleasure was not the issue. Rather, surrounded by those who radically disagree with the GOP platform, I think I had become a little defeated.
I had not lost my passion for conservative politics, but my passion had been tinted with anger. How is that very few people seem to care that Hillary Clinton is dodging another bullet with the email scandal? Why do the massacres of innocent people by ISIS go unnoticed by so many? No doubt, the anger fuels me. But somewhere along the way, the other side of passion had become diluted. Reading the transcript of Reagan’s five-and-a-half minute speech from the heart in 1976 reawakened that faded passion, a passion not out of anger, but of hope, fulfillment, and destiny.
Today, as evil appears to prevail across the world and the values upon which this nation were founded are swept under the rug, it is a constant uphill battle for any conservative. I remember after President Obama was reelected in 2012, my classmates in high school asked me why I was so upset. “It’s just an election,” they said, “it’s not the end of the world or anything.” It is that kind of apathy about our nation that is so dangerous. Since 2012, the world has gradually been catching fire. But as Senator Ted Cruz told a 3 year old girl, “…your mommy is here, and we’re going to put it out.” We will put out the fire. Merely voting for politicians who represent our values and interests is not enough. It will take a joint, nationwide grassroots effort to turn the tide. America is still the greatest country, but as Reagan famously says, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”
We, as grassroots conservatives, cannot become apathetic. We must engage in thoughtful and meaningful discussion with our neighbors and friends at the dinner table, in class, and in the coffee shops about restoring America and remaining the one true beacon of legitimate freedom in the world. We must return to our roots and proudly proclaim the conservative platform of free-market principles and protection and respect of the Constitution given to us so bravely by our Founding Fathers. We must accept our destiny as the moral leader of the world and choose to pursue that destiny fervently and to no end.
Some of you might be reading this as Republican propaganda. It is not. It is simply reality. If we do not fully embrace the passion for America’s greatness that Ronald Reagan so proudly emanated, the erosion of freedom will only continue. Now is not the time to wait for someone else to do the work. It is our duty as citizens to come together proudly and unapologetically, striving for a New Reagan Revolution. There is no substitute for victory.