I became a conservative by watching this speech on television in 1964 at the age of seven. What he said in that speech still defines American conservatism for me, and, I think, the vast majority of conservatives in this country. As the intellectual godfather of the modern conservative movement in America, Russell Kirk said:
Ronald Reagan will be remembered as the President who gave hope to the American people — even great expectations. Old sureties that the ritualistic liberal had mocked were unshaken in Ronald Reagan’s mind; and President Reagan’s reaffirmation of those ancient convictions began to arouse the nation from the discouragement of twenty years or more.
Contrary to some truly misguided individuals, conservatives do not “worship” Reagan. Reagan was simply a man, who made mistakes and had his share of human foibles and flaws. However, he has never been surpassed for his ability to articulate conservatism to the American people and to convince vast swathes of the American people to embrace conservatism. Reagan was the greatest conservative statesman in American history, and I pray that I will see a leader as great as him again in my lifetime, although I do not expect that I, or the country, will be that fortunate.