Reagan and Obama by Jean Kaufman – Weekly Standard

070724_obamareagan_campaignReagan and Obama

Is America a city on a hill or a country in decline?

by Jean Kaufman

10/07/2009 12:00:00 AM

Ronald Reagan believed in America.

One way he expressed this faith was through the image of “a shining city on a hill,” a phrase Reagan uttered in one form or another in many of his speeches, including his 1989 Farewell Address in which he said, “I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life.” It was an expression with religious as well as historical origins, and referred to American exceptionalism.

In a 1974 speech Reagan expanded on America’s special place among nations:

…I have always believed that there was some divine plan that placed this great continent between two oceans to be sought out by those who were possessed of an abiding love of freedom and a special kind of courage…

Somehow America has bred a kindliness into our people unmatched anywhere…We are not a sick society. A sick society could not produce the men that set foot on the moon…

We cannot escape our destiny, nor should we try to do so. The leadership of the free world was thrust upon us two centuries ago in that little hall of Philadelphia. In the days following World War II, when the economic strength and power of America was all that stood between the world and the return to the dark ages, Pope Pius XII said, “The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish actions. Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind.”

via Reagan and Obama.