To the Editor,
Our nation was losing the Cold War. Our diplomats were held hostage in Iran. Fear of hijacking gripped international travel and commerce. The economy struggled with double-digit unemployment, inflation and interest rates. Social Security was bankrupt and two decades of deficit spending threatened to rip the very fabric of our society.
President-elect Reagan faced a hostile Congress and hostile press. As if he didn’t have enough problems, labor challenged the new president with an unprecedented illegal strike by Air Traffic Controllers within days of taking his oath. His words were as calming as they are now.
“The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice that … so many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, with God’s help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us. And, after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans.” — Ronald Reagan, speaking at this 1981 inauguration.