Below is a transcription of his radio address from the essential Reagan speech collection, “Reagan in His Own Hand.”
Looking Out a Window
January 27, 1978
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 of philosophizing if 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 white. It’s logical to assume all or most are homeward bound at the end of a day’s 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’ve 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 not “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 of 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 it doesn’t it seem kind of foolish to wait for such a final day and take the change 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.
This is RR. Thanks for listening.
This may not be stunning, but it shows a president who knew we were important…That America was important.