“Today,” President Nixon began, “there are some who say that that [American] spirit is dead – that we no longer have the strength of character, idealism, and faith we once had.”
That was October 1972; this is October 2010. America was in the midst of a deciding campaign then, and we are certainly in the middle of one now. The parallels between RN’s “One America” radio address of October 28, 1972 and the trending atmosphere in today’s America and the world are inescapable.
Publications all across the world have opined about the “moral decline of America,” and while “We hear a lot of scoffing at old-fashioned faith, morality, and character,” the President said, I “know that the day America loses its moral character, or the day we forget our religious heritage, we will cease to be a great Nation.”
This is a complex problem that Americans should take to heart. It ties into the concept of a Culture War that Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly coined several years ago; in essence, traditional Americans are pitted against secularists who seek to rid America of old-fashioned values. Whatever one’s personal belief on those issues, the President’s point from 1972 is a valid one, and shows that the Culture War is nothing new in America.
Going on to quote George Washington that the beauty of the American ideal is the “sacred fire of liberty,” President Nixon recalled the plight of so many who have traveled to America from faraway lands, to attain “riches from rags,” so to speak – the American Dream.
“This year, the election is being decided on the fundamental issues. Because it is, we are seeing the birth of a new American majority.” – in modern terms, one may describe that as the emergence of the unrestrained Tea Party. The Great Silent Majority of the 1970s may be shedding its silence, and the new majority may be adequately described as those who are fed up with wasteful government spending – and they’re certainly not silent! How relevant is the President’s message today:
“I have found that most Americans everywhere agree that we should hold the line on taxes and spending. The days of the Congressional blank check for spending are gone. The people are tightly demanding an end to the government extravagance that has driven up taxes and prices. “
Indeed, the Nixon Administration’s policies, according to the President, gave the American people “the lowest rate of inflation and one of the highest rates of growth of any major industrial nation in the world,” but, RN quickly notes, “What has made America the economic wonder of the world is not what government has done for people, but what people have done for themselves.”
Let me close with this timely reminder: “Once again this November, the choice is ours. And I urge each of you whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, or an independent – to become a part of the new American majority, to help us keep on building a strong America, a just America – One America embodying the hopes and faith of all Americans.”