Instead of music when I exercise, I listen to Ronald Reagan speeches. I find Reagan’s voice inspiring. The words stay in my mind long after practice is over. Mr. Reagan’s observations on government, although made over 40 years ago, are clearly relevant to the debacle we find ourselves in today. Mr. Reagan’s insightful speeches warned us against the human tendency towards authoritarian governments. Why did we ignore his prediction?
In Mr. Reagan’s 1966 speech, The Myth of the Great Society, he said, “Wasn’t that the warning of the Founding Fathers? This government tends to grow, to take power until freedom is finally lost…only government is capable of tyranny. Mr. Reagan saw, even in America’s booming post-war decades, the slow slide into tyranny of an ever-growing government.
The trappings of the Great Society and the slide toward an administrative welfare state, seemingly innocent at its inception in the 1960s, gave Mr. Reagan reason to warn his countrymen: “Our limited government, with its decentralized powers, gave way to planners and they laid increasingly heavy hands on every facet of our lives… such a government would cover the face of society with a web of small, complicated, minute and uniform rules, and so the man’s will is not broken, but softened and guided, until the nation is reduced to a herd of timid, industrious animals shepherded by government. The last two years have proven to us that we are gentle, shy, guided.
Every day I hear from Lifetime Democrats wondering how and why their party let them down. The party of the working class, of immigrants and of equality has simply perverted all these notions. In 1966, Mr. Reagan said: “To those who are Democrats, ask yourselves if the leadership of your party still follows the precepts of Jefferson, Jackson and Cleveland. Take the 1932 platform on which Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected, with his demand for a 25% reduction in the cost of federal government, the restoration of constitutional limits on the power of that government, a return to the states and to local governments communities and individuals of the rights that had been taken away from them. Ask which party would be more comfortable today with these promises… the leadership of this [Democrat] the party has long abandoned you.
Mr. Reagan then challenges the Republicans of 1966, saying that they must be the opposition party. It was, he said, such a great responsibility that it cannot be assumed by a split party. Mr. Reagan knew at the time that a divided party cannot oppose tyranny. He called them “Sucker-Republicans”. I think most conservatives today can relate to that sentiment. Mr Regan said: “We can step back into the shadow of a philosophy we hate but fear to question, or we can rise from defeat and enter the second round of our fight to restore Republic.
Here in California, conservatives are suffocating under the most advanced tyranny our nation has ever seen, cowering in the shadow of a philosophy we hate. The Republican Party has so far feared to question this philosophy in a coherent and undivided way. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times this campaign season: Republicans need to stop complaining about Biden and Democrats and show voters what better solutions we have. We need to educate Democratic voters, sometimes to their surprise, that their values clearly align with republicanism and conservative principles today.
That’s why I signed my commitment to the contract to restore California. Conceived and written by CD-24 candidate Dr. Brad Allen, the contract is a pledge to California voters by conservative candidates. The contract states: “We want to help put an end to a government that is too big, too intrusive and totally irresponsible with the public’s money. Therefore, we, the undersigned, believe in eight simple principles, and from day one of the new Congress, we pledge to work to introduce these measures, in order to improve the lives of California citizens, and through this, restore faith and people’s trust in their government.
I invite you to read the 8 point solutions we will bring to California as your representatives in Congress.
As Reagan closed his 1966 speech, he offered a chilling warning: “To all Republicans today charged with this responsibility because it is ours, I say look deep into your heart and ask yourself if you may have a difference with any other republican but is more important to this challenge that faces us tonight. If you’re not up for this challenge, you better start preparing…decide what you’re going to tell your kids that you found more important than freedom…they’ll want to know.
I know what I can say to my children. How are you going to heed Reagan’s words?
- Peter Hernandez is a first-generation Mexican-American, born and raised in San Benito County, California by parents who worked in the fields, and he grew up in the farming community. He is a candidate for the United States Congress in California’s 18th congressional district.