Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, was the featured speaker Aug. 9 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as a part of its “Time for Choosing” speaker series. Garcia addressed the problems caused by divisive modern politics and detailed solutions that the GOP and society as a whole can implement to unify the nation and truly put America first. The following is an excerpt from the beginning of the speech, which can be viewed in its entirety at bit.ly/3pydvt7.
I wrote and dedicate this speech this evening as a tribute to my dad, who we laid to rest last week. My dad immigrated to Fillmore, California, in 1959 from Mexico when he was 9. He was a liberal registered as a Democrat and while we didn’t agree on much politically, we still knew how to have conversations with each other. And we loved each other dearly.
It is an absolute honor to be back here at the Reagan library again this evening and to be asked to participate in the Time for Choosing speaker series. It seems the air is always a little cooler in the shadow of Reagan. This is our Graceland and I’m proud to represent Simi Valley at the federal level in Congress.
I’m proud to be once again serving my nation this time in this very special capacity. I believe that if Armageddon is on, one ought to be there to fight for the good guys.
My journey to this point has been an amazing one. In my lifetime, I’ve held a lot of titles, and I’ve put no import on any of them. I’ve been called midshipman at Annapolis, lieutenant commander and strike-fighter pilot in the Navy, vice president at Raytheon, been a small businessman, congressman in this role, and even worse things in ads paid for by Nancy Pelosi that I shouldn’t repeat here. Show me someone worried about titles, and I’ll show you someone destined to fail at their job.
It’s not the titles I care about. To me, the essence of who I am and what I do, and what I care about, stems from being affiliated with one group. For me, there’s one title that matters. That title is “American.”
Being an American is the only secular title I care about. Even when you don’t agree with me. I would give my life to defend your liberties and your ability to continue to call yourself a free American… the only worldly title that matters.
This is an absolutely critical period of our nation’s history. It’s a challenging time and our decisions over the last two years and over the next four will alter the trajectory of our country.
A federal republic like ours is a dynamically unstable one that requires the exertions of men and women who serve unselfishly in the interest of the nation. Without those exertions, without the sacrifices made by patriots, the nation is simply a wobbly top that is a mere few revolutions from falling down.
And if not Armageddon, this era is certainly a test of our resolve. It is a fight of good vs. evil, socialism vs. capitalism, right vs. wrong. There are remarkable parallels between today’s environment and the environment when President Reagan took office in the early 1980s.
I’m blessed to be able to serve in this era. My role in this lifetime is to be the best American possible. To be a patriot in her service for the purpose of extending this amazing experiment beyond 246 years. With the functionality and purity, true liberties and freedoms, that our founding fathers envisioned on day one.
If this country is worth dying for, it’s certainly worth working for. And it’s certainly worth loving. This country needs our work and it deserves our love. And true love, like that of a parent to their child, drives us to do whatever is necessary to protect them. We are willing to do the hard things for that cause. We are willing to make the sacrifices.
As it’s not about titles, it’s also not about division. It’s not about creating an us vs. them mentality.
With just a few simple questions we can quickly divide this audience into smaller factions.
There’s a million ways to divide us. Dodgers vs. the Yankees. Whether the toilet paper should dispense from the front or from the back of the roll. Coke vs. Pepsi. And the quickest way to divide us, asking if you are a Republican or Democrat.
The hard work comes in the task of unifying. The hard part is saying you believe in America first and be willing to civilly engage those who don’t agree with you. And in doing so helping them realize that we are in fact on the same team. And that while we may disagree, we vow to not cancel each other. We vow to engage in civil discourse with the intent of resolving differences or balancing our perspectives. If unable to resolve differences, creating solutions that are the product of compromise.
As we are the shining city on the hill that President Reagan called us, it’s important to value not just the existing city. More importantly, we must value the foundation that our country is built upon. And perhaps most importantly, the bedrock this foundation is built on. If the United States is the city on the hill, the Constitution is its foundation. But the precepts of the Constitution were not simply developed out of thin air. And it wasn’t just a product of providence or amazing coincidences.
Instead, the Constitution, and the precursor Declaration of Independence, were built upon fundamental principles of liberty that our founding fathers ascribed to. It is these principles that are the bedrock upon which our foundational documents were written. These principles remain timeless and relevant today. They represent the unheard echoes of millions of citizens through the caverns of time and geography who have fallen victim to tyrants since the beginning of man and government.
These principles… these are the bedrock under the Constitution…
Rep. Mike Garcia represents California’s 25th Congressional District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley. The district is being renumbered to the 27th District beginning with the November election.