|Reagan & The Berlin Wall|
|Written by Chuck DeVore - California State Assemblyman|
|Monday, 09 November 2009 19:17|
The Berlin Wall came down 20 years ago today. The Berlin Wall came to symbolize oppression. But its ugly lesson is often forgotten: the pursuit of utopia always leads to slavery.
A little more than two years earlier, on June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan delivered his famous Berlin Wall speech on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the founding of Berlin. President Reagan said, “We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. 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!”
Reaction from major U.S. media organs was immediate. The New York Times intoned that President Reagan had “lost the air of authority” and said that his Berlin Wall speech was “surreal.” Other publications were equally harsh.
I was in Berlin around the time of President Reagan’s speech, a guest of the conservative German think-tank Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung. The preparations for the President’s historic speech at the Brandenburg Gate were clearly visible. As a Reagan White House appointee in Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger’s office, I was a Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs. For 11 days we met with West German military, defense industry, and political officials. The highlight of our official visit was our time in Berlin where we met with the Berlin Senate, the city’s executive branch, visited Checkpoint Charlie, and saw the Berlin Wall (I kicked off a piece and took it home).
The Berlin Wall itself cut a stark line through the city. On one side was color, life, and freedom itself while on the other, drab grayness and misery. That people have largely forgotten this reality makes it more likely to be rept in one form or another.
The role of proper government was set out in the Preamble to our Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men…” Government is to provide the environment in which we can all pursue happiness – not try to provide us happiness in some utopian scheme fueled with money borrowed from China.