Is it just me, or do some of Obama's speeches seem to be continuing a leftward tilt since he took office? It's as if he thinks he's "safe". Look at the text of some of these speeches and think about what he's saying:
"Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things. Freedom is the recognition that no single person, no single authority or government has a monopoly on the truth but that every individual life is infinitely precious and has something to offer. Every victory for human freedom will be a victory for world peace."
He can't hide the liberal obsession with peace and weakening America, can he?
It gets worse:
"The United States believes that respect for human rights is not social work. It is not merely an act of compassion. It is the first obligation of government and the source of its legitimacy. It also is the foundation stone in any structure of world peace."
"Symbolizing his personal campaign to...allow greater freedom of religion, [he] lit a candle during a visit to an Orthodox Monastery."
Are you scared yet? You shouldn't be. These are Ronald Reagan's words. Gotcha! (If this took you in, you should be asking yourself why.) I didn't go quote-hunting; they first two are the summary of a film about his life that's shown in the museum and that he narrates, and the third is from a photographic caption (see below). Can you imagine going to a Tea Party rally and talking about your support for human rights and Obama attending non-Protestant religious services and defending the right to change the established way of doing things? You'd be taking your life in your hands.
I visited the Ronald Reagan Library a few weeks ago and it occurred to me while listening to his stirring speech that if any politician made statements like this today, they would be immediately reviled by Tea Partiers as some kind of radical. In fact, they might point out, the Reagan Museum is chock-FULL of suspicious left-leaning motifs. First of all, it's in the middle of a stunning desert area in California (that's where liberals come from!), AND it contains a theater named after Mikhail Gorbachev. AND he used to be a Democrat. If Ronald Reagan were running for the Presidential nomination in today's GOP, he'd be run out of town as worse than a RINO. A visit to the Reagan Museum will give you more than enough evidence of how the GOP has changed for the worse in two decades.
I highly recommend a visit to the museum. If you're a Gen Xer and you remember Reagan from your teen-aged years, it's good to re-map him to your modern political sensibilities. One reflection I did have is that his speeches and his policy don't strike me as the work of a genius - and that's just fine. What it did strike me as was his the work of someone of solid character and clear-thinking principles. Because Reagan probably wasn't reading Plato in his spare time made him no less effective. Most importantly, he presided over and was at least half-responsible for the end of the Cold War, a legacy that isn't celebrated nearly enough. When I was ten years old I remember being scared every time I heard a siren that World War III had started and I would die within an hour. While the threat is not entirely gone, it's mitigated substantially, thanks largely to Ronald Reagan.
And of course, I ended up in my mind comparing Reagan's heroic handling of the Soviet Union to our current handling of China. I'm not pointing at either party as the one that dropped the ball, but since the Democrats are in office right now, it's their responsibility. This makes me nervous because they seem ready to surrended even to Scott Brown. But then where are the modern Republicans with the knowledge and resolve about foreign affairs? The GOP seems interested in internal bickering, period. (And by the way, it's exactly this willful ignorance of the outside world in favor of political inbreeding and navel-gazing that wrecked Rome and Spain and Ming China and every great nation in history that's joined the dinosaurs.) Attempts to appease the more belligerent elements in the CCP are pointless, but so far it's the best our leaders have been able to do. yet somehow, Reagan stared down the Soviet Union when they were much stronger and able to inflict far more damage than China could now.
Here are some pictures I took; apologies for the quality of my phone camera. It's winter here in Southern California which means it rains, which felt appropriate for a visit to his grave, immediately behind the museum.