Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | November 5, 2008

The City Still Stands Proud

These are words for the ages delivered by President Ronald Reagan as part of his Farewell Address To The Nation, given on January 11, 1989.  They are as relevant to us today—perhaps especially today—as they were nearly twenty years before:

“The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the ‘shining city upon a hill.’ The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.

“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it and see it still.

“And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that; after 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.”

The following thoughts have been strung together from messages sent and comments made to family and friends today, the day after America set herself on a new, uncharted course:

1. What an exhausting evening it was. I feel like I now must come to grips with the death of my ideals today, at least to the extent that they are no longer relevant to a majority of my countrymen. We shall see what kind of world emerges on the other side of an Obama presidency. I keep trying to tell myself that it’s not going to be that bad. So far, I am unconvincing.

2. My mood today is stoic and reflective. I think it is time for those who share my beliefs to sit on their hands on the sidelines, at least for the next few months. When something emerges that is really worth fighting over, then it will be time to reassemble the troops and go into battle against the type of radical socialism and social radicalism that Obama and his partisans represent. Until then, I think we all should give him the room to sink or swim on his own and see what happens. It is about all we can do. The fight for now is over.

3. We will all look to the future—and hope for the best. Politics being what they are, however, it will get ugly again after a period of honeymoon. The nuts and bolts of where a President Obama will try to take us will be resisted by a great many people, and for good reason—particularly where the Supreme Court is concerned. I would look for Justices Stevens and Ginsburg to retire at the end of the term in June. If the honeymoon is not over by then, those retirements will end it. But, today we go on; the people have spoken. Let’s see what happens.

4. I really don’t want to play the part of sore loser, and I hope I’m not. I truly do hope that the right choice was made, and will offer my support where I think warranted (if it makes any difference considering the speck that I am in the scheme of things).  And I will speak out where I think I should. It is now a day for folks to come together and for us to be our best.

5. It does no good to dwell on what could have been or what we will now become. For our country, we can now only wait and see; in our personal lives, though, we can go out and take that next mountain. Start climbing!

6. Thankfully, there is more to life than politics, and that is what I will be about in the near term. I’ll leave you with just one other thought for now: The next earthquake in California that you read about might only be Ronald Reagan turning over in his grave.

The City still sits on the hill with every bit of gleaming splendor that it has ever had.


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