It's nightfall in a strange town a long way from home. I'm watching the lights come on from my hotel room window on the 35th floor. I'll be right back.
I'm afraid you are in for a little bit if philosophizing of you don't mind. Some of these broadcasts have to be put together while I'm out on the road traveling what I call the mashed potato circuit. In a little while I'll be speaking to a group of very nice people in a banquet hall.
Right now however I'm looking down on a busy city at rush hour. The streets below are twin ribbons of sparkling red & white. Tail lights on the cars moving away from my vantage point provide the red and the headlights of those coming toward me the while. It's logical to assume all or most are homeward bound at the end of a days work. I wonder why some social engineer hasn't tried to get them to trade homes. The traffic is equally heavy in both directions so if they all lived in the end of town where they worked it would save a lot of travel time. Forget I said that & don't even think it or some bureaucrat will try to do it.
But I wonder about the people in those cars, who they are, what they do, what they are thinking about as they head for the warmth of home & family. Come to think of it I'm met them - oh - maybe not those particular individuals but still I feel I know them. Some of our social planners refer to them as "the masses" which only proves they don't know them. I've been privileged to meet people all over this land in the special kind of way you meet them when you are campaigning. They are the "the masses", or as the elitists would have it - "the common man." They are very uncommon. Individuals each with his or her own hopes & dreams, plans & problems and the kind of quiet courage that makes this whole country run better than just about any other place on earth.
By now, thinking of their homecoming I'm counting how many more hotel room windows I'll be looking out before I'm in the rush hour traffic heading home. And yes I'm feeling a little sorry for myself and envious of the people in those cars down below. It seems I've said a thousand goodbyes, each one harder than the one before.
Someone very wise once wrote that if we were all told one day that the end was coming; that we were living our last day, every road, every street & all the telephone lines would be jammed with people trying to reach someone to whom we wanted simply to say, "I love you."
But doesn't it seem kind of foolish to wait for such a final day and take the chance of not getting there in time? And speaking of time I'll have to stop now - OPERATOR I'D LIKE TO MAKE A PHONE CALL - LONG DISTANCE.
January 27, 1978
Radio broadcast called "Viewpoint"
As recounted in the book;
Reagan - In His Own Hand
The Free Press