July 28, 2009
In Ronald Reagans 1989 farewell speech he inspired the youth in America to dream of change and pursue active leadership for the good of America. All great change in America begins at the dinner table, Reagan told America. And he was right.
Yet as a college student, I am aware of how many of my contemporaries across this nation see little reason to devout themselves in the world of politics. Millions of college students around the country would rather stay in their comfortable safe havens of youthful apathy then dare to engage the complex political world surrounding them.
Many young American intellectuals are scared. Scared to engage in a fearless way in the world of politics, for the sake of the future of our country. A temptation for college students is to keep the dinner conversations, merely dinner conversations. To keep the transformative ideas and dreams of what America could become, only in term papers and research assignments. College students are tempted to keep the questions they raise in classrooms about their stake in Americas future only to themselves, their peers, and their professors.
Yet if the transformative fortieth president, The Great Communicator Ronald Reagan was still with us today, he would demand of us to take our dreams for Americas future and to cast ourselves into the world of politics. Reagan himself lived this out when he dared to take the conversations he had around his dinner table concerning ending the evil empire of the Soviet Union, and pursued the presidency fighting for the freedom of those in political bondage.
Aspiring conservatives ought to learn from current President Barack Obama who wisely saw former president Reagan as one of the greatest transformative presidents of modern time. Reagan still matters. His message still matters. His legacy still matters. And most importantly his optimistic spirit, his grand yet specific dreams for his country still matter. Leading conservatives have urged Republicans nation wide to forget the dreams Ronald Reagan spoke of and move on into the future with a spirit of fear and compromise. This is unwise and will lead to political death.
Aspiring leaders of our country can only change America in a more responsible way when they understand that America needs their ideas to be expressed not only in the safe comfortable world surrounding the kitchen table, but in the scary, complex world of local, state, and national politics.
If young leaders with a vision for the future of America would take the risk to express their ideas publicly and throw themselves into the world of politics, America would once again be lead into her future as Winthrops city on a hill.