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Reagan Week – “Remembering Reagan”

February 6, 2011

Remembering Ronald Reagan

By Adam Davidson

Mr. Davidson is the Lindenwold Municipal Chairman and the former Executive Director of the Camden County Republican Party.

 

Ronald W. Reagan

 

100 years today the world was made a little brighter with the birth of Ronald Wilson Reagan.  It has been more than two decades since he left office, but he has never left the hearts and minds of millions of Americans.  During the 2008 presidential primary campaign Republican candidates constantly compared themselves to President Reagan, and there were public debates about what “Reaganness” truly is.  Even Barack H. Obama, Reagan’s polar opposite on many fundamental issues, has drawn parallels between himself and the 40th president, a testament to Ronald Reagan’s enduring popularity.  In the seven years since The Gipper’s left this Earth, and the fifteen years since his fade from public view as he succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease, many Republicans have considered the challenges our great nation has faced and they have asked themselves, ‘what would Reagan do (WWRD)?’  If there is one thing that Ronald Reagan’s legacy teaches us, it is that we as a nation can overcome tremendous challenges as long as we are willing to do the hard work that is necessary, and remain optimistic, resolute, and proud of what makes America exceptional.

During his two terms in office Ronald Reagan met with extraordinary adversity.  Just weeks after his inauguration, he was shot in the chest by John Hinckley in an assassination attempt.  After a graceful recovery, which bolstered the nation’s confidence in its new president, Reagan was ready to start tackling the major issues of the day.  At home our nation was suffering through an unprecedented period of rising inflation, high unemployment, and spiking oil prices.  By instituting sound economic policy including lower taxes, Reagan steered America back towards prosperity.  Abroad the Cold War was raging, and many believed there was no end in sight.  But Ronald Reagan saw things differently.  His vision was one of “peace through strength,” and he always remembered what makes America strong: limited government, individual liberty, the free market, and the opportunity for every American to make a better life for himself as long as he is willing to work for it.  He knew that if the focus remained on the strength of the United States, the Communists could never keep up.  History has proved that Reagan was right; the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991.

So how can Ronald Reagan’s life inspire us today?  Our military is engaged overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Peace and stability in the world are being threatened by the leaders of Iran and North Korea.  Egypt’s political future is very uncertain.  The Federal Government has made moves to take over large portions of the American economy in the banking, automotive, and healthcare industries, severely limiting your freedoms and the very strength of our great nation.  Our national debt, as well as the debts of several states, has grown so large that many wonder if we are on the verge of economic collapse, leading to an end of America’s dominance as the single world superpower.  Certainly the current administration has not inspired the ‘hope’ that was promised.

Ronald Reagan’s message to us today would be that it is not time to despair.  Much hard work needs to be done; tough decisions need to be made and we need to elect leaders who understand the underlying causes of the problems our country faces as well as the consequences of their actions.  America can make a comeback as long as we stay proud of what made us a great nation.  The midterm elections last November were a wake up call for those leading us down a path towards destruction, and should be a clear sign to all patriotic Americans that there is still hope of restored greatness.  But it won’t just happen if we sit back and wait.  The American people need to hold our elected leaders at all levels of government more accountable.  That means paying attention to laws that are passed, asking questions about how your tax dollars are being spent, and most importantly getting involved in the political process.  Vote.  Volunteer for political campaigns.  Run for office.  You cannot expect your life to improve if you are sitting on the sidelines.  As the Great Communicator once said, “if you’re afraid of the future, then get out of the way; stand aside. The people of this country are ready to move again.”

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