It was thirty years ago today Ronald Reagan gave his farewell address after two of the most defining terms in 20th Century politics.
And while he was his usual upbeat self, he had a question and challenge for Americans – one that may have seemed abstract-ish back then…:
But for all of his optimism, Reagan did leave his audience with one clear warning for the future. He said the country needed “an informed patriotism.” He greatly feared that we were not doing enough to foster it.
“Are we doing a good-enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world?” Reagan bluntly asked.
When he was young, the nation’s youth “were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American,” he noted. “And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions.” Young people learned those lessons from family, in classrooms, and through popular culture.
…in a way that seems definitely concrete as hell today.
And I don’t think that’s been remotely accidental. If mainstream America doesn’t know what it’s got, how will it know how / whether to defend it? What, indeed, to defend it from?
A generation of our “best and brightest” are being raised in an academy that actively disparages the values Reagan espoused. The lowest form of life on the intersectional pecking order is “the conservative supporter of the American tradition”.
Is there any hope?
This’ll be a big topic this weekend on the show.