Sunday, February 06, 2011

Reagan’s Centennial: Why He Still Matters & Why Liberals, Elites Still Don’t Get It

Since today is the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, it has been amusing to watch the reactions of people, mostly in the liberal media, who still don’t get why Reagan was one of the greatest Presidents in American history, as well as the 20th Century.

Several writers in the Washington ComPost still show utter disdain at the Reagan legacy. However, that doesn’t keep these liberals from using a man they never understood for comparisons to the current resident of the White House, when Barack Hussein Obama is everything that Reagan wasn’t.

What liberals and elites on both sides of the isle don’t understand about Reagan was that his greatness was more than just rattling off some great one-liners or, “seducing” American’s with “sunshine” rhetoric.

Perhaps Reagan said it best in his farewell address to the nation:

And in all of that time I won a nickname, "The Great Communicator." But I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: It was the content. I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn't spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation — from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in principles that have guided us for two centuries. They called it the Reagan revolution. Well, I'll accept that, but for me it always seemed more like the great rediscovery, a rediscovery of our values and our common sense.
What made Ronald Reagan great was his belief in the greatness of America, and in the greatness of the American people. That if you simply got government off the backs of workers, people would produce, and be inspired to innovate and create. He believed in American exceptionalism because he had lived the American Dream. Only in this nation, could the son of a religious woman and an alcoholic father grow up in the Great Depression, work as a lifeguard to pay his way to attend college, find work as a radio announcer, and become an actor in Hollywood. When, as a citizen, he saw a more intrusive government that took peoples earnings and freedom away in the name of compassion, he left that career behind to become a citizen politician to put up his hand and say “STOP!” His journey started in his 1964 “A Time for Choosing” Speech, then led to two terms as Governor of California, then to becoming leader of the free world.

With that belief came another aspect of Reagan’s greatness—a moral clarity and an unwavering set of principles. He saw the evils of communism and wasn’t willing to settle for a “co-existence” or “détente.” Communism had to be defeated. He had the fortitude to do what no other President had done— call the Soviet Union exactly what it was, an “evil empire,” even after his advisors told him not to use that term.

Another example of unwavering Reagan was occurred in his firing of all of the nation’s striking air traffic controllers, who in violation of their oaths to never strike. Some said that moment showed the world that Ronald Reagan meant business.

Showing again how Reagan said what he meant, and meant what he said, was this speech after the 1986 raid on Libya.

Not only do liberals not get this, but many alleged “conservatives” don’t either. Some on the conservative side have tried to lecture us that the “era of Reagan is over,” that a “not so big government” is acceptable, that we must compromise some of our principles to build the movement. Back in 1975, Reagan had words for these people whom we would call RINOs today.

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?

…A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.

I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.

In other words, those who tried to water down conservatism didn’t understand they were also diluting the very principles conservatism is based on: the principles this nation was founded upon. You could not trade liberty for more government intrusion in your lives.

The same liberals who accused Reagan of seducing Americans with flowery language mistakenly felt that was the key to electing a liberal Democrat as President. They used terms like “the man from Hope” for Bill Clinton, or the Bob the Builder inspired “Yes We Can,” as well as “Hope and Change,” for Barack Hussein Obama. But that just showed how liberals and elites had a condescending view of the American people as just sheep who’d fall for anything.

When Ronald Reagan talked about a “shining city on a hill,” he believed it, because not only had he lived it, he saw it in his interactions with the American people. He did not talk to one group of Americans one way, and then refer to them as “bitter clingers” among the brie and wine crowd. He saw greatness in all of us, if only the burden of big government could be lifted from our shoulders.

That’s what made Reagan great, because he was the real deal. It’s what inspired voters to elect him in two of the biggest landslide elections in American history. It’s why the streets in Washington DC and California were crowded with mourners as his casket passed, because all those people he’d inspired wished to pay tribute and say thanks to this great leader who inspired him.

With that, Ronald Reagan’s message also inspired younger people who may not have been old enough to vote for him, but were inspired to learn more about things like the Constitution and why America was such an exceptional nation. Watching Ronald Reagan during his 1980 campaign got me interested in the political process, and learning more about American exceptionalism. I proudly carried a “Reagan for President” sticker on my notebook in sixth grade. Nearly 30 years ago, the shock of hearing of his attempted assassination stung more as some fellow students around me applauded the news. I was thrilled in June of 1982 to receive a letter from Reagan, in response to one I’d written. He told me that hearing from young people was a “source of inspiration” for him, adding:
“There is a renewed sprit of national pride in our country today. People of all ages are eager to help build a better America, to share in the work to be done and to share also in a feeling of self-worth and pride that comes with accomplishment.”
Ronald Reagan renewed that spirit of national pride, not just because of who he was, but because he reminded us of how great we were as a nation, that we were a beacon of light to the world, and we did not have to apologize for who we were.

God how we need another leader today who can remind us of this same message that Ronald Reagan did thirty years ago.

Happy 100th, Mr. President. God Bless and thank you for your inspiration. May you rest in peace, as we whom you have inspired will continue carrying your message to new generations of Americans.

This Ain't Hell illustrated just how the Washington ComPost, well, still doesn't get Reagan.

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