Two weeks later, Reagan confronted our enemy by announcing the Strategic Defense Initiative, a program to build a space-based anti-missile system. While many did not believe that the technology existed to make this system operational, the idea put the Soviets on notice that Reagan was serious and would not back down easily.
When Reagan spoke in Berlin in 1987, he lay down a challenge to the Soviet leader: "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
As we think about our own legacy, we have to remember that it is important to transform and correctly frame the crisis of our time, based not solely on what it means to us materially, but also on what it will mean to future generations. The debt and deficit crisis is not simply an argument about economics, it's also an argument about morality and freedom. Debt takes freedom from future generations and ties them to a debt that they did not create.
Focusing on the task at hand trivializes the argument and blurs the lines between one side and the other.
Articulation of large, clear goals -- like those cited by Reagan -- is needed to win the argument and then to win the vote.
"Freedom leads to prosperity," Reagan declared that day in Berlin. "Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor."
To become victorious, we must replace hatred with comity and peace and focus on freedom, what it means to everyday Americans today and what it means for future generations to be free and to clearly articulate a better future for all Americans.
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