Goldwater lost. Reagan went on to hold public office, serving as the governor of California from 1967 to 1975. In 1980, 16 years after delivering "The Speech," Reagan was elected president.
In 1983, in a speech to the annual convention of the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Fla., Reagan summarized the moral argument against the Soviet Union. "Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged," said Reagan, who added that the problem was not a military one. "The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith."
Reagan also defined what we were against: "Let us be aware that, while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world."
In his Brandenburg Gate speech, Reagan noted there is "one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor."
Freedom was indeed the victor on Nov. 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall was torn down. Just two years later, on Christmas Day 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist.
These two Reagan speeches, both of which are included in my recent book, "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own" (Regnery, 2010), resonate with us today. They remind us that our country is the last, best hope on earth, that you and I do have a rendezvous with destiny, and finally, that words have incredible power.
We must not be afraid to engage in the great spiritual battle at hand and to use words to support freedom and liberty.
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