On 11 August 1984, while doing a microphone sound check off-air in a radio studio in preparation for his weekly Saturday re-election address, then US President Ronald Reagan jokingly said (instead of the usual, bland “testing, testing, 1, 2, 3”):
“My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”
It was a parody on the opening line in his address that would announce:
“My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you that today I signed legislation that will allow student religious groups to begin enjoying a right they've too long been denied — the freedom to meet in public high schools during non-school hours, just as other student groups are allowed to do.”
Former president Dwight Eisenhower once said:
"A sense of humour is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done."
Reagan used humour to raise awareness about Soviet life and ideology.
This innocuous radio-desk banter (or “gaffe” as the haters termed it) was mischievously later recorded and leaked without context to the general populace. It triggered all kinds of responses including condemnation from the Soviet official news agency, TASS, that was not amused, saying “This kind of behaviour is incompatible with the great responsibility borne by heads of nuclear states for the destinies of their own people and mankind.”
The budding fake news media in the US and abroad stood on ceremony and turned the blame on the US President instead of, if anyone, the leakers.
Reagan's spontaneous, brief gag triggered lefties the world over for years. It fed into a desperate narrative trying to paint the right-of-centre President as irresponsible, a dangerous prankster, a war-monger, gung-ho, unfit for office - later shifting to slurs about his mental state.
Celebrate the good humour of the late former US President, Ronald Reagan - and our ability to laugh at ourselves - by:
- watching this compilation (embedded below) of other Soviet/Communist jokes that Reagan used to tell while in office which greatly helped the West understand the plight of Marxist societies and to also thaw Cold War relations
- viewing this commentary of the incident
- browsing these other compilations of The Great Communicator at his best
- noting the impact that comedy used to have on maintaining our civility, humility, sanity, honesty and plurality but how an increasing number of prominent comedians are calling out the creeping PC and illiberalism ensuring comedy’s slow death in the West, making us evermore intolerant and humourless
- reading more about President Reagan, his successes, famous quotes and why he so annoyed and conquered his “progressive” opponents, and/or
- sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family, friends, fellow conservatives and those still with enough common sense to enjoy a good laugh.