Taken from: Reagan, In His Own Hand - The Writings of Ronald Reagan that Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America.
Sometimes it's very easy to get glib about how the decisions we are making will shape the world for a hundred years to come. Then a few weeks ago I found myself faced with having to really think about what we are doing today & what people (not history) PEOPLE LIKE OURSELVES will say about us.
I'd been asked to write a letter for a "time capsule" which would be opened 100 yrs. from now. The occasion will be the Los Angeles Bicentennial & of course our countries tri-centennial. It was suggested that I mention some of the problems confronting us in this election year. Since I've been talking about those problems for some 9 months that didn't look like too much of a chore.
So riding down the coast highway from Santa Barbara - yellow tablet on my lap (someone else was driving) I started to write my letter to the future.
It was a beautiful summer afternoon. The Pacific stretched out to the horizon on one side of the highway and on the other the Santa Ynez mountains were etched against a sky as blue as the Ocean.
I found my self wondering if it would look the same 100 yrs. from now. Will there still be a coast highway? Will people still be traveling in automobiles, or will the be looking down at the mountains from aircraft or moving so fast the beauty of all this would be lost?
Suddenly the simple drafting of a letter became a rather complex chore. Think about it for a minute. What do you put in a letter that's going to be read 100 yrs. from now -- in the year 2076? What do you say about our problems when those who read the letter will know what we don't know -- namely how well we did with those problems? In short they will be living in the would we helped to shape.
Will they read the letter with gratitude in their hearts for what we did or will they be bitter because the heritage we left them was one of human misery?
Oh I wrote of the problems we face here in 1976 -- The choice we face between continuing the policies of the last 40 yrs. that have led to bigger & bigger govt, less & less liberty, redistribution of earnings through confiscatory taxation or trying to get back on the original course set for us by the Founding Fathers. Will we choose fiscal responsibility, limited govt, and freedom of choice for all our people? Or will we let an irresponsible Congress set us on the road our English cousins have already taken? The road to economic ruin and state control of our very lives?
On the international scene two great superpowers face each other with nuclear missiles at the ready --poised to bring Armageddon to the world.
Those who read my letter will know whether those missiles were fired or not. Either they will be surrounded by the same beauty we know or they will wonder sadly what it was like when the world was still beautiful. If we here today meet the challenge confronting us, -- those who open that time capsule 100 yrs. from now will do so in beauty, peace, prosperity and the ultimate personal freedom. If we don't keep our rendezvous with destiny, the letter probably will never be read -- because they will live in the world we left them, a world in which no one is allowed to read of individual liberty or freedom of choice.
- Ronald Reagan in his words.