Monday, March 5, 2007

Ya know-- I wanna show you all something.

I have chosen, completely at RANDOM, a speech made by President Ronald Reagan, from the Reagan Presidential Library website. Completely at random, and YET, President Reagan brings his folksy, warm and loving speech right home to the crowd at the Missouri State Fair, at Sedalia, Mo., on August 19, 1984.

Why don't you read this speech, as IF IT WAS PROFFERED, BY HIM, TODAY, IN 2007??

Mr. Reagan's speeches are timeless; indeed, as timely, as relevent today as it was 22+ years ago, to a lucky few, at that Sedalia, Missouri State Fair.

IT IS REPRINTED HERE, FOR YOUR FORTUNATE READING: (Be sure and read this, with Mr. Reagan's personal, gentle speaking voice in your head-HINT, HINT, HINT)

Thank you very much. And, Kit, Governor Bond, I appreciate your warm words and your gift, and I'm delighted that in view of my previous occupation you didn't say, ``Sweets to the sweet.'' [Laughter] ``Ham to the ham,'' more like it! -- [laughter] --

Well, you know, I've been to quite a few so-called cattle shows in my time, so I just want you to know it's great to be here with you and with your champions and tomorrow's leaders to see the real thing. We only wish we could have brought you -- although I understand you did get a little yesterday -- some rain. Anymore, in saying anything of that kind out in farm country in America, I have to ask first, ``Did you have too much or too little?'' But I understand that you -- like us in California -- you've been having too little. So, I hope that the clouds that were here when we came in will do their duty for some more.

As we drove in, I couldn't help thinking what a tonic to come here to your State, where corn and milo grow, to be with people who work with the soil, the sweat of their brow, and the ache in their back, people who share an abiding love for God and family, people for whom words like ``personal initiative,'' ``self-reliance,'' and, yes, ``generosity'' are everyday facts of life. You are the heart of our country. [Applause] And if this is the`Show Me'' spirit, just show me more. [Applause]

But there is another fact of life right now in this heartland: a powerful, economic expansion which has given birth to millions of new jobs and a spirit of hope, but has not still spread thoroughly and throughout this farmbelt. And I've come today to see you, to meet with you, to listen to Missouri farmers and Governor Bond's Advisory Council on Agriculture, and to give you three important messages of my own.
First, after years of drift and decline and deepening despair, America is moving forward again. But our progress won't be complete, it won't be good enough, and we won't rest for 1 minute until all our people are moving forward together.

And the second thing I want to tell you is that we will make this progress together. We'll make it because our history tells us so. Those who've been proven right in the last 4 years are not the do-nothing pessimists who only see America wringing her hands; it's been the millions of hard-working achievers who see America raising her hands.

You know, we have so many strengths in this country, but I think the greatest are often ignored by those so-called Washington experts. Because I'm talking about a different kind of strength -- strength born of a dream, strength of motivation and confidence that ours truly is the freest land in the world. Ours is a society that rewards honest toil, risk-taking, and achievement, for the factory worker, the small businessman and, yes, the family farmer, because the promise for America is for everybody, no matter who you are, who your parents are, or what lonely corner of the world you may have come from.

We're strong because we still believe in a bedrock principle: We are a government of, by, and for the people, not the other way around. And we're strong because we know that true greatness begins with the deepest treasures of the human spirit, with faith and courage, with loyalty and love, with a quiet, unselfish devotion to our families, our neighbors, and our nation.

I couldn't help but think of these things as I watched our Olympic athletes. Didn't you get the feeling that the Soviets must have been relieved when the closing ceremonies for the Olympics were over? [Applause]

But the one thing they'll never see is closing ceremonies for America. [Applause]

These values reach deep into our national character. They're rooted in the lives of our parents and grandparents, of all those who settled these hills and tilled this good earth. And they live on each day in people like you in Sedalia, in Knob Noster, La Monte, Smithton, Pilot Grove, and in Sweet Springs.

The heritage of our past will bring forth the harvest of our future. And that's why there's a third message I want to give you: We must all move forward together. We will move forward together, and we'll do it by strengthening one of our most cherished, vital institutions -- the American family farm.

We know the problems that still haven't gone away. The threat of crippling droughts and floods is still with us and always will be. Credit burdens are still too heavy, largely because of high interest loans during the late seventies while the value of land that farmers use as collateral for their loans was dropped as inflation has come down, and that's keeping financing difficult.

But some other things have gone away. And I believe that getting rid of them makes the future for family farmers much brighter and more hopeful than before.
The first, most important thing is that we got rid of a cynical, wrong-headed, totally unfair grain embargo. I seem to remember someone who now says he opposed the embargo in private, speaking a little differently in 1980. He said then, ``What we've done will really sting.'' Well, someone got stung, all right, but it wasn't the Soviets. They're still in Afghanistan. It was thousands like you who deserved better from your own government. And for the life of me, how do you show you're strong by punching yourself in the breadbasket?

Now, forgive me, and I'm going to hate myself for saying this, but their foreign policy went against the grain. [Laughter] That embargo -- --
[At this point, the President was briefly interrupted by two men in the audience who began shouting. The men intermittently shouted protests throughout the remainder of the President's speech.]
That embargo cost farmers 17 million tons of grain sales to the Soviet Union in 1 year.
Is there an echo in here? [Laughter and applause]
But the worst loss was the long-term loss of American credibility as a reliable supplier and billions in long-term sales.

But we're doing things a little differently. I believe our foreign policy reflects priorities that are based on common sense. One of my first actions as President was to remove the embargo, and we're doing our best to help you work your way back, strengthen your prices, increase your exports, and regain your reputation as reliable suppliers.
We've begun rebuilding -- [Applause] -- we've begun rebuilding America's defenses. And after all those years of shameful neglect, I can tell you that today America is more secure, and the men and women representing us in uniform are the brightest and the best that we've ever had.

Our efforts are beginning to pay off. In 1980 we had weak defenses, a weak economy, and a grain embargo that filled your bins and emptied your wallets. [Interruption] In 1984 we have stronger defenses, a stronger economy, and grain sales to the Soviet Union, the country our critics say won't deal with us. Well, over 20 million metric tons they bought since last October. And if they want to buy more, we'll sell more. [Interruption]
We're also -- [interruption] -- we're also moving aggressively to expand markets -- [interruption]. If I could do that, I wouldn't have to use the mike. [Laughter and applause]
But what we're trying hardest to do is to move aggressively to expand markets and open other markets that have been closed. Last November I met with Prime Minister Nakasone of Japan, and this spring our two countries reached an agreement that should virtually double American beef exports over the next 4 years.
So, we got rid of the grain embargo. We're going after the other barriers to American exports around the world. We took action and eliminated the huge crop surpluses that had piled up after the embargo. And we expect the value of agricultural exports this year will be up almost 10 percent over last year.
Inflation, that cruel and dangerous enemy, has been beaten down to about 4 percent. And we intend to keep it down. In 1979 and 1980 the prices farmers had to pay shot up by one of the biggest 2-year increases in history. In 1982 and '83 farm cost levels increased by the smallest 2-year rise in 15 years.

The killer prime rate of 21\1/2\ percent in 1980 has dropped to 13 percent, which is still too high. But remember, we've broken with tradition, we've resisted the quick fix, and that's making all the difference. With inflation low and confidence building that it will stay low, then I just have to believe that interest rates can come down more and will come down more.
In the meantime, the Farmers Home Administration will continue reaching out to help tens of thousands of farm borrowers hold on to their farms and stay in business. [Applause]
Now, there's one other change we've made, and it hasn't been too popular back in Washington. We came to Washington with a radical idea: America's economic problems weren't caused by you living too well, they were caused by government living too well. So, we struggled to reduce personal tax rates by 25 percent, to provide help and hope to individuals, to small farms, and to family farmers who pay taxes by the personal rates. Next year, your taxes will be indexed so that government can never again profit from inflation at your expense by shoving you up into a higher tax bracket just because you got a cost-of-living pay raise.
Also, we believe it's not right for widows and children to lose what generations of love and toil have created. So, the estate tax exemption will increase to $600,000 by 1987, and of even greater help, there will be no estate tax for a surviving spouse.
Now, everything that we're trying to do is directed toward one -- [interruption] -- --
I'll raise his taxes. [Laughter and applause]

Everything that we're trying to do is directed toward one challenge: to rekindle opportunity so everyone has a chance to pursue the American dream. America can only grow if you grow, can only prosper if you prosper; and America can only be strong if you are strong. And that's why I'll fight any attempt to destroy these reforms or to impose new taxes on your families. If the born-again budget balancers have discovered the meaning of frugality, let them start by imposing some frugality in Washington, DC, and not here, in Sedalia, Missouri.
For some people, tax increases are a first resort; for me, they'll be a last resort. Forgive me, but those who have forgotten about the grain embargo, forgotten about killer interest rates, forgotten about runaway inflation, forgotten about soaring fuel costs, and who now intend to increase taxes $1,500 per household if they're going to keep their promises -- Missouri is the Show Me State, not the Snow Me State.
We have no plans to raise taxes by any amount on anybody at any time -- period. Our plan is to make the tax system more simple, more fair, and, most important, to bring your tax rates further down. That's our idea of compassion.
And that's our idea of progress, too. For if we restrain spending, reduce tax rates further, and keep our economy growing by over 5 percent a year, we can sharply reduce the deficit through growth. Yes, it's a difficult but by no means impossible challenge.
So, I'd like to leave you with this thought: Let's take our cue from our Olympic athletes. Rather than punish success, rather than raise taxes, let us challenge America to raise her sights and reach for greatness. Let's go for the gold, let's go for growth.
You who struggle so hard and devote so much and give of yourselves to feed the hungry are a true light of hope for all the world. And through you, America can be the source of all the hopes and dreams that she was placed on this good Earth to provide. I thank you for what you do every day. I thank you for giving me this chance to be with you to share your joy and spirit.
Thank you, and God bless you all.

What a gentle and yet forceful leader Ronald Reagan was. And how I personally WISH there was a Reaganesque-like Republican for us, today. Tomorrow.

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