Tags: Barack Obama | Ronald Reagan

Obama, Reagan Were Right: Confront Evil at Home Too

By Wednesday, 01 October 2014 02:48 PM Current | Bio | Archive

On Sept. 24, President Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly.

This is the speech in which he called the Islamic State a “network of death” and announced his intention to degrade and destroy it. This is also where Obama acknowledged that America has sometimes failed to live up to its ideals. He specifically mentioned the recent events in Ferguson, Mo. where, “a young man was killed, and a community was divided.” Like every other country in the world, he said, America has ethnic and racial tensions, which we wrestle with continually.

Unlike some other countries, however, we welcome scrutiny. We insist on a free press and an independent judiciary. We criticize ourselves and try to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Many conservatives criticized Obama for this. For example, former Vice President Dick Cheney, appearing on Fox News, said he was stunned and outraged that the president would imply there was any moral equivalence whatsoever between what happened in Ferguson and what was happening in the Middle East.

Is this criticism fair?

For the answer, let’s travel back to March 8, 1983, the day Ronald Reagan gave his famous “Evil Empire” speech. There is evil in the world, said Reagan, and we cannot ignore it. We must confront the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, he said, but we must also beware of the temptation of pride.

What temptation of pride? I’ll let Reagan answer, “Our nation . . . has a legacy of evil with which it must deal.” That is, racism, anti-Semitism, and other kinds of ethnic and racial hatred. We’ve had a long struggle to achieve equal rights in this country, and we haven’t always lived up to our ideals. “The struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might,” said Reagan. “The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.”

You can watch Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech at reaganfoundation.org. For those ambitious politicians who aspire to higher office, this is the speech you should study. Why? It has to do with the point that Reagan and Obama were both trying to make:

The way to keep America great is by keeping America good.

Jack Godwin is an award-winning political scientist whose appeal spans the political spectrum. He is the author of three books on politics, most recently "The Office Politics Handbook," and is now writing his first novel, a political thriller set at the end of the Cold War, the golden age of spy fiction. To view more of his reports, Go Here Now.


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The way to keep America great is by keeping America good.
Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 02:48 PM
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