Words to Live By Podcast
Crime and Criminal Reform
It’s on the news every day – crime rates are escalating exponentially throughout the country. Well, when Ronald Reagan became our 40th president, our country was experiencing the same surge in crime and in 1980 he said, “We need a renewed emphasis on, and an enhanced sensitivity to, the rights of victims. These rights should be a central concern of those who participate in the criminal justice system, and it is time all of us paid greater heed to the plight of victims.” So in this podcast, we’ll listen to the president’s thoughts on Crime and criminal justice reform, beginning with a radio address delivered 40 years ago on September 11, 1982. In the second half of the podcast, we’ll move forward five years.
America the Beautiful at Fudan University
China’s activities of late – showing off their military muscle after Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan – are top of mind and call us to review the President’s objective when he visited China in 1984, and that’s by spreading the good news about democracy, particularly to students. We thought our listeners might be interested in his truly beautiful speech delivered to college students in China at Fudan University in 1984. In the first half of the podcast, we’ll cover a few excerpts from the speech in China and in the second half, we’ll be inspired by hearing his heartfelt description about everything that’s great about America at Fudan University.
To Taiwan or Not To Taiwan? That is the Question
In August this year, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made a somewhat controversial visit to Taiwan, making her the highest ranking US official to visit the island in 25 years. In the lead up to the trip, President Biden told reporters that the military “thinks its not a good idea’ to visit Taiwan due to rising tensions over the island’s status – also further complicated as the Biden administration has urged China not to back Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So, what would Ronald Reagan do? We don’t know but we can tell you what he said in an interview with journalists before he left for his trip to China in the spring of 1984.
The Tonight Show 1975
In Ronald Reagan’s lifetime, he made numerous appearances on the Tonight Show hosted by Johnny Carson, and as you can imagine they’re not only entertaining but fascinating. As an actor, he knew how to charm and communicate – but as a politician, he knew that an opportunity to clarify his ideas on a national basis was rare, so these interviews with Carson provided a platform for doing just that – thoughtfully, carefully, and casually, explaining just what he believed in.
The Personal Side
So we thought we’d dedicate this podcast to the personal side of our 40th president who was described as an ordinary man who accomplished extraordinary things. Ronald Reagan often credited his political success to an empathy with ordinary Americans. Asked by a reporter on the eve of his election in 1980 what Americans saw in him, Reagan replied: "Would you laugh if I told you that I think, maybe, they see themselves, and that I'm one of them? I've never been able to detach myself or think that I, somehow, am apart from them." Even after two terms as president, Reagan called himself a "citizen-politician," the phrase he often used to describe himself in 1966 when he was elected governor of California in his first race for public office. Reagan said he wanted to become part of government in order to reduce its influence.
Ronald Reagan was a loving guy – he never hated anyone, except, maybe two things: Communism and Liars. In his mind, the two were definitely intertwined. And, as we observe Putin’s assault on Ukraine, it’s the same old Soviet tune – one that says “we’re for peace” and oh by the way, just ignore the tanks invading your country, we’re hunting for nazis. No one believes them. And Reagan didn’t drink the Soviet Kool-Aid, either. There’s one Town Hall that he conducted in 1987 in California at the Century Plaza Hotel with transmission also on the East Coast AND supposedly in the Soviet Union. The Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York had, since 1984, sponsored a week of debate between Soviet and American scholars and officials and August 1987 was no exception. To put the time frame in perspective, by August 1987, Gorbachev had been General Secretary for about 2 ½ years. Two summits – one in Geneva and one in Reykjavik - had taken place with the signing of the historic INF Treating looming in four months, in December of the same year. We love this town hall and we’ll focus on it in this podcast.
Thank you for the archive
I love Reagan and his speeches. I know this is something you would do seeing as this is the Reagan institute, but I digress. One complaint I do have is the regular pauses during the speeches and the context given at the beginning of each speech. I understand why, but I would like to just listen to the Reagan.
One of my favorite podcast!!