Monday, January 14, 2008

I Am Not Ronald Reagan

Every Republican on the campaign trail constantly evokes the name of Ronald Reagan, as though he is the Patron Saint of the Party. I am hereby not going to evoke Reagan. Or Kennedy. Or FDR. Or Lincoln. Or Washington.

Instead, I will draw upon what every President has tried to evoke, and I will state it in my own words. Then, I will leave it to posterity to judge me on what I write, rather than trying to sell myself with the labels of dead Presidents.

I am a child of the 1980's. I grew up in an era where man had been from the bottom of the oceans to the surface of the moon. I watched as computers moved from large rooms into our homes. I saw the knowledge of ages go from something found in large buildings in shelves of books to an easily found stream one Google search away. I had the opportunity to see the way we hear news and opinion shift from the few and the powerful to everyone who can click a mouse. This is a fundamental shift in our culture, for good and for bad, that has finally matured. (I'd thank Al Gore for the Internet here, but that joke is way too overused.)

Would any of the leaders I named have a clue how to handle this? I would say no. Everyone is a product of their time, and all those great leaders of the past are gone. With new opportunities and new possibilities appearing at a faster and faster rate, the slow and steady pace of change is gone. Not even the space race of the 1960's can compare to today. Now this may sound like a rant of someone young against his elders, but is merely the observation of someone who has found that even some people my own age are often struggling to catch up. It is in this new era that we have new opportunities and need new leaders that can inspire us to greatness.

The fundamentals of conservatism, or liberalism if you must go there, do not change. How they are applied does. And with new methods of sharing and gaining information, we must embrace this from the individual to the government. Conservatism has always leaned toward a smaller government. With the technology now available, we can do this. We must get the plodding monolith of our current system cut down, made leaner, more streamlined. We cannot go back to the past, but must move forward to a smaller and more efficient government. In this way, the individual, with massive resources at his fingertips, can achieve greater and greater things.

Now we need leaders who will do it. And I know that I am that leader. For in each of us is the potential to be great. It is not for government to give to us this greatness, but for us to seize it and make it our own. And my promise will be not to find ways for government to "create" opportunity, but to get government out of the way so that each man and each woman can live up to their potential. And so I leave it to those who want this opportunity to give me a mandate to clear a path to the future of the United States of America.

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