On February 6, 1911, one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen was born, and just a few weeks ago, February 6th marked what would have been his 102nd birthday. The United States is blessed to have had Ronald Reagan as its President, and we should be careful not to forget everything he taught and did for us.
Under Reagan’s watch, the United States pressured the Soviet Union into collapse, achieved one of the most economically prosperous periods in its history, and reclaimed the idea of America that had been lost for decades. Reagan’s 8 years were some of the most successful of any presidency, and he became one of the very few Presidents to leave office more popular than when he began.
Despite these definitive achievements, many, particularly in younger generations, criticize Reagan as being destructive to America and question the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of his policies, suggesting the Soviet Union collapsed on its own, and that tax cuts and spending increases caused an irresponsible deficit.
But I think most people, even Reagan fans, misunderstand why he was great. Unfortunately I never had the privilege of living during his presidency, but YouTube is a wonderful thing, and “A Time for Choosing” says it all.
Reagan wasn’t great because of his policies. He wasn’t great because of any historic laws he signed into being. It was much less tangible than that.
Reagan inspired. No matter how bad things were, Reagan made people feel good about themselves and the country. He gave people the hope they needed to reclaim the American Dream and showed them the greatness America could achieve.
Reagan fundamentally challenged the ideas that were causing America’s decline. He went toe-to-toe with Communism, and did not hesitate to identify and condemn evil when he saw it. There was not politicking involved; Reagan’s advisors often tried, but failed, to prevent him from saying controversial things, many of which have become some of his most heralded quotes.
That is why Reagan was great, for knowing how to lead. We could learn a great deal from the man who was elected in the most sweeping victory this country has ever seen.
Now and forever, we thank you for everything you have done for this country, President Reagan. You taught us to value what our ancestors fought and died for. You taught us that there is no price too great for freedom. You taught us to reject mediocrity. You taught us to stand up in the face of evil. You taught us to hope.
I leave you with a quote from President Reagan’s first Inaugural Address, one of the best statements he ever made:
“It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We are not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew our faith and our hope.”
Happy Birthday, Mr. President.