Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – In the 32 years that intervened, has anything that Reagan was warning about back in 1981, has any of it been mitigated? Has it been solved? Has it been healed? Has it been fixed? Has it been repaired? Do we spend less than we take in? Have we gotten our house in order? As individuals, do we have our houses in order? The answer is no. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Mike: I’m going to play a clip from January 20th, 1981. Here’s a part of Ronald Regan’s acceptance of the presidency.
[start audio clip]
President Reagan: Mr. President, Vice President Bush, Vice President Mondale, Senator Baker, Speaker O’Neill, Reverend Moomaw and my fellow citizens: To a few of us here today, this is a solemn and most momentous occasion; and yet in the history of our Nation, it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place as it has for almost two centuries and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this every-4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.
Mr. President, I want our fellow citizens to know how much you did to carry on this tradition. By your gracious cooperation in the transition process, you have shown a watching world that we are a united people pledged to maintaining a political system which guarantees individual liberty to a greater degree than any other, and I thank you and your people for all your help in maintaining the continuity which is the bulwark of our Republic. [Mike: He’s talking about James E. Parker, of course.]
The business of our nation goes forward. These United States are confronted with an economic affliction of great proportions. We suffer from the longest and one of the worst sustained inflations in our national history. It distorts our economic decisions, penalizes thrift, and crushes the struggling young and the fixed- income elderly alike. It threatens to shatter the lives of millions of our people.
Idle industries have cast workers into unemployment, human misery and personal indignity. Those who do work are denied a fair return for their labor by a tax system which penalizes successful achievement and keeps us from maintaining full productivity.
But great as our tax burden is, it has not kept pace with public spending. For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children’s future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals.
You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by that same limitation?
We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow. And let there be no misunderstanding–we are going to begin to act, beginning today.
Mike: Think about that for just a moment. That was in 1981. Here we are 31 years into the future, 32 years. In the 32 years that intervened, has anything that Reagan was warning about back in 1981, has any of it been mitigated? Has it been solved? Has it been healed? Has it been fixed? Has it been repaired? Do we spend less than we take in? Have we gotten our house in order? As individuals, do we have our houses in order? The answer is no. What about the part where the Gipper says in order to continue this, we will guarantee cultural, moral and financial upheaval in a manner that will not produce happiness, or whatever his words were that he used?
Reagan could not have possibly known that he would be successful in his first four years of slowing the train down. He was the guy in the caboose. That’s what the caboose man does, he helps brake the train. He was the guy in the caboose with the striped dungarees and the striped hat on who was pulling the brake lever trying to get the train to stop. The train did not stop. It slowed down for a little while. As soon as the second term of Ronald Reagan began, it began to pick up speed and it has been gaining speed ever since, although for one brief moment in time during the 1990s, we did get someone else on the handbrake. We were able to slow it down again, and yet that was but an ephemeral event that ultimately gave way to hubris, shock and awe.
Here we are today, 30 years after Reagan’s exhortation. The situation has now evolved to the point where it must be unrecognizable to those that started with Reagan. How can you fathom what has happened after that glorious speech, after the matter-of-fact way in which he stated we are going to do this? He was not able to do it. Here we find, ladies and gentlemen, confronted again with the reality of our history and what has actually happened not what we want to happen, here we find that it is a physical and historical impossibility. If we are to quote Patrick Henry and believe him to be a sage and a prophet, we only have one lamp by which our feet should be guided, and that is the lamp of history.
If you can reflect upon the inauguration of Reagan 32 years ago and then apply that to the inauguration of President Obama yesterday, regardless of how peacefully you exchange power, did you really peacefully exchange power, or do you exchange power under the coercion of the Internal Revenue Service? Do you exchange power and continue the power under the coercion of every other federal agency out there? Do you continue to exchange power under the coercive force of all the other agencies that bear so mightily on you today? Well, fair citizen, I believe that the answer to that question is in the affirmative. Yes, you do exchange it in some manner, but all you really do is prolong the inevitable. All you do is continue the despotism that had already begun. That’s the state of affairs.
The proper state of affairs is that we are far worse off and far down the road that was warned about by President Reagan way back in 1981. We have been unable or unwilling, or a combination of the two, as a citizenry to do anything about it. You do this for the future. You do this to protect the future. In that regard, all of us have failed mightily. Those that have gone before and those that are with us today continue to fail in that endeavor. Is that because there’s not enough passion behind what needs to be done? I’d say there’s an ample amount of passion, ample amount of agitation, ample amount of ink spilt or pixels created on digital screens every single day.
What is it that stops us? What is it that prevents the things that Reagan was talking about 32 years ago from actually happening? I would suggest and do suggest to you that it is the fact that we have lost our cultural and moral way. We don’t have the capacity to regard or properly analyze and see exactly what it is that our current actions are going to do to the future and our future generations. Maybe we’re just too selfish to hold those thoughts in our heads. Regardless, it has not changed.
One of the things that stands as an impediment to it is scale. Scale matters; human scale matters. We are so far out of it. If we were out of scale in 1981 and Reagan was not able to, with all the great men he brought along with him, stop this, just imagine the gargantuan task for anyone who is going to attempt it today. Just imagine the futile, useless task of anyone that would even attempt to do this today. This is why we basically have a corrupt spoil system. No one is trying to stop it. This is my point of the whole monologue. No one is trying to stop it. All they’re trying to do is win favor for those that have sent them to high office. All they’re trying to do is return a share of the corruption back to those that sent them to Mordor on the Potomac River or your state capital. That’s the game that’s going on today.
Perhaps that’s the game that has been happening since the beginning of organized governments and we are but the latest pawns in its being played. Perhaps there is something else going on here. Perhaps there is an evolution of sorts. Perhaps now the world will get to witness the greatest attempt of mass democracy ever in the history of the world. Well, the early returns are in. $16 trillion to the negative and we’re about to find out tomorrow — AG, do you know the number they’re going to raise the debt ceiling to tomorrow? The Republicans already have a plan. There’s going to be a vote in the House. They’re going to extend the debt ceiling so the bills get paid until May the 16th. I didn’t see a number in that story.
AG: I just see May 18th as the extension date.
Mike: However many billions of dollars it will take to get to May 18th, there’s a can in the middle of the road of the great ship United States. Boehner and company are going to walk up to it and kick it. They’re going to kick it to a place on the calendar called May 18th. That’s going to happen tomorrow, right?
AG: They’re going to vote on Wednesday with the idea that this will somehow force the budget to actually be proposed in the Senate.
Mike: Of course, we have lots of evidence that that’s actually going to work. So, fellow citizens, what do you do? If we are to consider our ways, I would suggest and form alternate plans of attack on the problem. Obviously attacking it from the federal end of the monster is inefficient and does not produce the desired result. If it doesn’t, what should you do? Obviously, if you’re a general and you’re a field commander, you’d say there’s another flank we must attack because we have not the armament. We have not the ordnance. We have not the firepower. We don’t have the infantry to scale the wall that is Mordor on the Potomac River. We’re going to have to find another way in or we’re going to have to focus our attention and firepower somewhere else. I don’t mean that literally as in who are we going to shoot.
End Mike Church Show Transcript