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Saturday, June 05, 2004

Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911 - 2004)

I knew it was coming. But I don't know that I was quite ready to say goodbye. That is how I feel right now as I learn that Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president of my lifetime, has passed away.

Reagan became president in 1980, at a time when this country was feeling gloomy and pessimistic about just about everything. Two events stand out for me from that year - Reagan becoming president, and the 1980 Olympic hockey team winning over the highly regarded Soviet team. These were my formative middle school years, when I was just learning to care about important things.

I will never forget what Reagan was as a president. To me, he embodied strong leadership. Who can forget the infamous "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall"? Certainly not me. There was no coincidence that, when Reagan took over for Carter, the hostages in Iran were quickly freed. Reagan believed that it was his mission to defeat Communism, and it was because of his policies of peace through strength that ultimately led to the demise of the Soviet power.

Reagan influenced me profoundly. Supply-side economics, villified by even Republicans (remember George Bush's derision of Reagan's "voodoo economics"?) are as fundamental in my personal fiscal viewpoint as Adam Smith. Reagan was, of course, originally an actor. He knew how to portray characters, and he knew how to communicate to Americans. This is why even the left liked him. Carter and Mondale didn't stand a chance during the Reagan years. Liberalism didn't either.

Sadly, we live in an era of divisiveness, and political opportunism. Both sides of the political aisle are to blame for the disunity in our country today. Many liberals villify the messenger as much as the message, while the conservatives who command the bully pulpit lack the ability to tell us, the American people, why they think their policies are good for America. Dutch Reagan never had this problem. He had convictions, he had beliefs, and he communicated them to us.

His charisma is what endeared him to me. That is why I began to develop an interest in politics at an early age. That is why my stomach sank this afternoon as I read that Ronald Reagan has now left us. I will always remember him as a great president, a great leader, and a great man. I only hope that, for the good of America, another Reagan comes along. But, somehow, I don't think there will ever be another.

UPDATE: Rocky Top Brigade bloggers Alphapatriot, Rex Hammock, and Up for Anything lament the passing of President Reagan.

Meanwhile, the left rejoices.


.: posted by Dave 4:12 PM

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