Remembering Ronald Reagan

Today is the 9th anniversary of the death of our 40th President.  Ronald Reagan, though modest and humble, was arguably one of the greatest United States presidents.   His legacy was so positive, his impact on America and the world so great, it would be impossible to forget this great leader.

A true conservative, he spoke persuasively against the growth of government, mindless bureaucracy, and the enormous power of the modern state.   He was a champion of individual excellence and personal freedom.   He was so skilled at verbally conveying conservative ideals, he earned the name of “Great Communicator.”

But he didn’t just make lofty statements about freedom and individual liberty.  If his successful record didn’t match his words, he would not be so highly esteemed today.  He fulfilled his promises and lived out his words through the decisions he made while he served in government.

In a paper for the Heritage Foundation, Steven Hayward sums up the successes of President Reagan:

Elected during a moment of national self-doubt and economic stagnation in 1980, he is credited with reviving the national economy, recovering the nation’s optimism about the future, and taking the pivotal steps to end the long Cold War struggle with the Soviet Union. His background as a Hollywood actor before entering politics, his idiosyncratic conservatism, and his age (he was the oldest person elected to the presidency) mark him as an extraordinary figure among conservatives and among all of our Presidents, making him a model to be studied closely and emulated by conservatives today and in the future.

Reagan understood that if things weren’t getting better, they were getting worse.  He said:

You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream—the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order—or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.

That is something American should remember today as we endure the presidency of one of the most liberal people ever to occupy the White House, Barack Obama.

As Heritage has explained:

There was a time when President Obama felt the need to hide behind Ronald Reagan’s view of the proper role of government. “I’ve never believed,” he said repeatedly on the campaign trail in 2010, “that government has all the answers to our problems.” Nor is it the government’s role “to create jobs or prosperity.” Rather, it is “the drive and ingenuity of our entrepreneurs” and “the skill and dedication of our workers” that comprise “the main engine” of job creation in America.

Those days are long gone. At some point during the 2012 campaign Obama dispensed with these pleasant-sounding, if insincere riffs, and replaced them with the most ambitious Progressive vision we have seen in nearly a century.

To fight against this progressive, downward tide, it is incumbent upon other conservative leaders and conservatives across the country to heed the advice of Ronald Reagan:

We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs protection.

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