Finally, confronting domestic terrorism means leading by example. All of us have a role to play. I know that our country has come a long way in addressing our national birth defect—racism. But more work remains to be done. Racism of the past was overt; racism of today is often covert. It’s more casual, but no less toxic. When I was growing up, I experienced open racism, including being called a wetback. Now, the racism I encounter is generally more subtle. When I ran for re-election as Texas land commissioner, I saw ugly vestiges of racism. For my work in trying to protect and preserve the Alamo for generations to come, I was accused of wanting to change the story of the Alamo and to build a statue honoring the Mexican General Santa Anna. It was offensive, it was outrageous, and it was completely untrue. It was also racist.
As conservatives, we have to do better than this because we are better than this. “I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life,” Reagan once said. Those words were later engraved on Reagan’s tombstone. And they speak to the heart of what conservatives believe. Conservatives must defend all Americans from all threats. There are no second-class Americans. All of us help make this country great. Like different streams flowing into one river, America is made a stronger place by the unique communities and cultures all across our land. “Out of many, one,” our national motto says. And we must defend this principle from attack.