Today marks the anniversary of the birth of one of our greatest presidents, Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911-2004). Those who remember his historic presidency (1981-1989) know all about the ridicule and abuse that establishment liberals heaped on this great man.
What his opponents and their allies in the mainstream media didn’t seem to get, however, was that President Reagan cared nothing about the opinions of those who did not deserve his respect. His presidency was all about his deeply held dedication to the principles of American greatness and the legacy of our founding fathers and history of what it is to be an American.
While others wrung their hands in despair, President Reagan walked out on an arms agreement with the Soviets, rather than accept another “compromise.” The Soviets later caved and America got the deal that ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union ten years later.
Even now President Reagan’s critics would rather give all the credit for the collapse of the Soviet Union to Mikhail Gorbechev. In fact, our greatest president’s demand in Berlin, “Mr. Gorbechev, tear down this wall!” was backed up by American military and economic might. The Berlin Wall and the Soviet “evil empire” fell from its own unsustainable weight.
President Reagan’s greatest legacy was really a result of a radical departure from the traditional strategy of just containing Communism within its borders. History demonstrated the failure of that doctrine in outposts like Vietnam, our own hemisphere in Cuba and Central America, and an actual Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980.
When Ronald Reagan took office, he decided to actually defeat communist expansion. He sent military advisers and equipment that inflicted a humiliating setback to Soviet plans in Afghanistan. He kept up relentless strategic pressure and military readiness that the failing Communist system could not match.
Though they would rather credit Gorbechev with the ultimate collapse of Soviet Communism, the American mainstream press eventually came around to somewhat of a grudgingly condescending acceptance of the greatness of Ronald Reagan. But older Americans, who remember the aftermath of Vietnam, appreciate President Reagan most because he restored our confidence and faith in the greatness of our country.
His thoughts on the American system and our Constitution were best stated in his 1974 speech “Shining City on the Hill”:
I know there have been other constitutions…. Most of them, even the one of the Soviet Union, contain many of the same guarantees as our own Constitution, and still there is a difference… Those other constitutions say, ‘Government grants you these rights’ and ours says, ‘You are born with these rights, they are yours by the grace of God, and no government on earth can take them from you.’
So as Presidents Day 2014 approaches, remember the leadership and inspiration of Ronald Reagan. If the Gipper were around today, he’d tell us that, more than ever, government is not the solution to our problems; it is the problem.
At *your* service,