NRL News

“And after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans”: the competing moral visions of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama

by | Jun 5, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

Thanks go out to National Review Online for reminding us that it was eleven years ago today that our great pro-life President Ronald Reagan passed away at his California home at age 93 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. The following ran first in 2013. We re-run the story as a reminder of what enormous contributions Mr. Reagan made in the battle against abortion and infanticide and to contrast his vision with the impoverished alternative of pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

By Dave Andrusko

ReaganObama3Okay, I would be the first–and I do mean the first––to acknowledge that comparing President Obama’s second inaugural address to virtually any speech President Reagan delivered would be unfair. President Reagan’s speeches all but sang. They were music to the ear because of the language, the imagery, the passion, and the sense he delivered that he was one of us, speaking for–and not to–us.

(I’ve included a link to President Reagan’s first inaugural address here. You can watch President Reagan deliver his speech on Youtube.)

By contrast President Obama’s remarks today landed with a thunk. For a man who is incessantly praised for his speechmaking, his staff could have produced a more moving (not to say coherent) speech by extracting paragraphs from his 2012 Democratic National Convention remarks and various State of the Union Addresses and dropping them into the equivalent of a speech blender.

Pro-lifers immediately latched onto the portions of the speech which boast about how inclusive the President is. Everybody, including aunts and uncles, are part of the mosaic that is America. Everyone, that is, but the unborn child.

By his second sentence, President Obama is telling the nation

“We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.’

“Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth.”

Or, in the case of the little ones, wrest back protection from an overweening Supreme Court whose indefensible decision 40 years ago is protected by a political party which has made the ongoing annihilation of unborn children a leading tenet of its secular faith.

Later in his speech, Obama said,

“We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.”

And, ironically, that is as succinct an explanation for our cause as you could ever ask for. The line that runs through the heart of this tenacious debate is precisely what obligations we have to our posterity—which holds true whether or not we deliberately chose to bring them into existence. Pro-lifers believe that this obligation is binding, pro-abortionists counter, “That’s up to the woman.”

Obama’s rhetorical technique is to throw an itsy bitsy bone at those who disagree (usually in the form of a short sentence or dependent clause), before letting us know that his way is, of course, the only way. “Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority.” This from a man who rammed through ObamaCare in the process commandeering control over 1/6th of the entire economy.

Near the end of his remarks, Obama returned to the Declaration of Independence as justification for his government-centric vision for our future:

“That is our generation’s task–to make these words, these rights, these values-of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness–real for every American.”

We don’t have “to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness,” he said, but what we must do is “to act in our time.”

We agree on the necessity for action, disagree fundamentally on what form that action takes.

For the most pro-abortion President ever, the life of the unborn is important only in a negative sense: if his or her continuation is an inconvenience. All actions must expedite abortion—better yet, multiple the number.

By contrast pro-lifers work to protect the defenseless and helpher mother to realize there is a better way through a difficult time. All actions are to find an optimistic solution.

President Obama’s victory last November was a bitter pill to swallow. We know his agenda for the unborn; all we have to do is read the position papers and legislation promoted by the likes of NARAL and Planned Parenthood. But we cannot give up; indeed, that thought would never, could never cross our minds.

When Mr. Reagan took office in 1981, we faced a host of economic and foreign policy crises. As was his wont he neither minimized the gravity of the situation nor succumbed to the defeatism that the “experts” insisted was inevitable.

He ended his First Augural Address this way [The President refers to Martin Treptow, who lost his life on the Western front during World War I.]:

“The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice that Martin Treptow and so many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds, to believe that together with God’s help we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us.

To which President Reagan added,

“And after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are all Americans.”

Categories: Politics