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Heart and Soul of a Leader

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  • Ron Criss
    Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem. When leaving office in 1988, President Reagan viewed with satisfaction the effects
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 29, 2003
      "Government is not the solution to our problem,
      government is the problem."

      When leaving office in 1988, President Reagan viewed with
      satisfaction the effects of what his supporters had dubbed
      the "Reagan Revolution". In his Farewell Address to the Nation, he
      proclaimed, "We've done our part. And as I walk into the city
      streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan Revolution,
      the men and women across America who for eight years did the work
      that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren't just
      marking time. We made a difference. We made a city stronger. We
      made a city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not
      bad, not bad at all."

      The Reagan Revolution involved cutting back the size of the federal
      government and getting it out of the lives of Americans. Reagan came
      in to office with three core principles and an agenda by which to
      implement them. He believed that the government was too big, that it
      taxed too much, and that the Soviet Union was an evil empire, getting
      away with atrocities across the world. From the first day of his
      Presidency, Reagan began to move systematically towards enacting his
      campaign promises, and, in so doing, he rejuvenated the American
      spirit.

      Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in a small apartment above a bank
      in Tampico, Illinois to John (Jack) and Nelle Reagan. The Reagans
      finally settled in Dixon, where young Ron came to be known for his
      exploits as a lifeguard. Reagan spent summers lifeguarding at the
      Rock River, where in the course of six years, he pulled 77 struggling
      swimmers out of the water. Reagan attended Eureka College, where he
      majored in Economics and Sociology. While there, he won four varsity
      sweaters in football, and managed the lead in most school plays. As
      a freshman, Reagan led the Eureka student body on a strike when a
      number of professors were fired. It was not long before the school
      hired back the professors in question.

      After graduating, Reagan went back to Dixon and applied for a job as
      manager of the sports department at a Montgomery Ward that had just
      opened in town. Reagan, because of his success in sports in high
      school and college, thought he had the job wrapped up, but was turned
      down. In the middle of the depression, he began traveling across the
      Midwest looking for a job in radio. Reagan was able to convince a
      radio station, which had turned down more qualified applicants, to
      hire him. It was not long before "Dutch" Reagan could be heard
      broadcasting Big Ten football games. But his dream was to be an
      actor, and in 1937 a screen test lead him off to Hollywood. Over the
      next two decades he would appear in 53 films; in only one did he play
      a villain.

      Several years later, Reagan became President of the Screen Actors
      Guild and found himself in the middle of the attempted communist
      takeover of the movie industry. He testified before Congress as a
      friendly witness, where he gave a powerful defense of the strength of
      democracy. Slowly, his political views began to shift from liberal
      to conservative. He was later hired as a spokesman for General
      Electric, and, in touring the country on their behalf, he was able to
      interact with many Americans, leading to his growing sense that the
      government was hindering the lives of Americans. In 1964 he gave a
      speech for Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and he
      burst onto the political scene as a prominent leader in the
      conservative movement. In 1966, he defeated incumbent Governor Pat
      Brown by nearly a million votes. In 1970 he won re-election.

      In 1980, Ronald Reagan became the Republican nominee for President
      and chose Texas Congressman George Bush as his running mate. In a
      time when conventional politicians were cynical and many thought that
      America's best days were of the past, Reagan radiated optimism while
      speaking of an America whose best days were still ahead. Americans
      were ready for a change. With the economy out of control—inflation,
      interest rates, and unemployment all soaring, an American hostage
      crisis in Iran, and the Soviet Union on the march, Reagan defeated
      Jimmy Carter resoundingly, winning 489 electoral votes to Carter's
      49.

      On January 20, 1981, Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as the 40th
      President of the United States. In his first 100 days as President,
      Reagan met with a total of 467 legislators as he prepared to send his
      Economic Recovery Act to Congress. This was interrupted however,
      when on March 30, Reagan was shot outside the Washington Hilton
      Hotel. Reagan was rushed to George Washington Hospital, a bullet
      within an inch of his heart. Reagan showed grace and a quick wit in
      the face of death, even telling a joke or two within hours of the
      shooting. When wife Nancy asked what had happened, he simply
      said, "Honey, I forgot to duck."

      But it was not long after being shot that Reagan was back to work on
      his Economic Recovery Act. With the help of the American people who
      he addressed by means of national television, Reagan's proposal
      passed by a large margin. Remarkably, Reagan had convinced forty
      Democrats in the House to break ranks.

      By 1984, as a Reagan campaign ad declared, it was "morning again in
      America." His tax cuts, true to Reagan's belief, had stimulated the
      economy and his defense buildup was beginning to take a large toll on
      the Soviets. In that election year, the Reagan-Bush team defeated
      Democrat challengers Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro by one of
      the largest margins in U.S. history, losing only Mondale's home of
      Minnesota and D.C.

      It was during his second term that Reagan's policies towards the
      Soviet Empire began to evidence the results that Reagan had predicted
      years earlier. The political elite laughed when Reagan referred to
      the Soviets as an "evil empire" and gasped when Reagan called for a
      nuclear arms buildup that would allow the U.S. to negotiate from a
      position of strength—but in the same year that Reagan left office,
      the Berlin Wall was on its way down, and shortly thereafter the
      Soviet Union itself would collapse.

      Upon leaving office in 1989, Reagan said that he would remain active
      on what he called "the mashed potato circuit" and, hopefully, spend
      some much longed for time at his beloved California ranch. Sadly
      these activities were cut short, when, in 1994, in an emotional
      letter to the American people, Reagan announced that he had been
      diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. With characteristic optimism,
      Reagan chose not to focus on his own hardship, but instead on his
      great love and hope for his country:

      "In closing, let me thank you, the American people, for giving me
      the great honor of allowing me to serve as your president. When the
      Lord calls me home, whenever that day may be, I will leave with the
      greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its
      future. I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of
      my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn
      ahead."

      from: http://www.reaganranch.org/best/bestof.htm
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