June 05, 2004

Farewell

Ronald Reagan inspired me to public speaking. As an eleven year old, I would listen intently to his speeches. I felt inspired and encouraged and awed. I even recall wishing he could have served another term, just so I could personally vote for him when I came of age. I haven't felt that way while listening to a president for a long time. I am thankful that he served and grateful to have experienced first hand his presidency and his presence.

Posted by Rae at June 5, 2004 11:56 PM
Comments

I too wanted to see a third term come about, but it never did. I am sad that he is gone. He was one of the greatest people I have ever met.

All the news clips and retrospectives keep misting me up!

Good, good man.

--David

Posted by: David R. Darrow at June 6, 2004 10:18 AM

I remember all of the Reagan Administration (He's even why I'm such a staunch Republican.)

I also remember that last scene of him and Nancy, as he left office, and their dog running up the stairs.

His entire 2 terms as President were such great memories, even through we were in such turmoil.

Posted by: Jeremy at June 6, 2004 04:07 PM

Im sure he was a decent man, and no doubt a charming public speaker....but i cant respect his administration for his cold warrior politics and his destruction of the regulation to the economy FDR created 50 years earlier.

Posted by: GuerrillaRadio at June 6, 2004 05:09 PM

"but i cant respect his administration for his cold warrior politics and his destruction of the regulation to the economy FDR created 50 years earlier."

Uh...um...uh...um...I'm nearly speechless. However, not totally speechless.

His "cold warrior politics" brought an end to the Cold War and his economic policies brought prosperity. I'm only 32, but I know enough to realize how crappy things were when he took office.

Posted by: Patrick at June 6, 2004 10:41 PM

And they WERE CRAPPY.
Iran had us by the neck, and the hostage situation there was an awful sight to see.
Gas prices were soaring, and there were lines at the pumps (you thought it was bad now?)

People were afraid to travel, international commerce was on a downspin that we thought was the end of civilization and thoughts of recovery were insane. Inflation was skyrockeing and the dollar was becoming useless in the world market.

FRENCH was being considered to be the international language, because the English language belonged to England and the United States, and who were they?

Oh, and don't forget the kind of guys like Andropov in the Soviet Union. We were a scared country, with no where to run.

If what Reagan did was destruction; I'll take some more of that. And the 16 million jobs he created too.

Posted by: Jeremy at June 7, 2004 12:26 AM

Gentleman, may I present GuerrillaRadio. GR, these are a few of the knights. I do thank you for your civility here, GR. You come back frequently so you either enjoy what you read, or like debate ;)I did have something all typed out in reply to our little discussion going on over at Kris' blog, but as she received a frightening and rather rude e-mail from someone (we decided it wasn't you), she deleted the whole post. All I ask is that you fight fair and with honor.

Have at it boys. This fair lady will be watching from the stands.

Posted by: Rae at June 7, 2004 12:57 AM

Im sorry to hear that, but no i sent no such email....i was actually enjoying the discussion. I do indeed love what i read, its cool to see the opinions of someone so different from myself!

In my opinion Reagan re ignited the cold war, after a period of good terms with the Soviet Union under Ford and Carter. Reagan certainly did nothing to stop it, infact he escalated a new arms race. Patrick, saying he ended it is nothing short of a joke. The USSR was suffering from massive internal problems. Heres a quote from the great communicator himself...

"Let us be aware, that they are the focus of evil in the modern world."

McCarthyism all over again? If thats not a cold warrior Patrick, i dont know what is.

Jeremy you say Iran 'had us by the neck.' Maybe they did. And the only way they got off America's neck was thanks to Reagan giving them missles in exchange for hostages. So much for not bargaining with terrorists...Reagan then proceded to lie, and deny giving Iran anything. His diary later proved he personally authorised it. It had to own up. You've probably heard of this.

16 million jobs? Never heard that one where are the figures from? not saying it isnt true, im just curious.

Posted by: GuerrillaRadio at June 7, 2004 09:01 AM

His inauguration day the hostages were released after 444 days of captivity.

THEY knew he would be one to be reckoned with and would not sit still as Carter had.

THAT speaks volumes.

Posted by: GrumpyBunny at June 7, 2004 11:09 AM

I remember it well.

In the '70s there was massive inflation and by '78 it was all anyone talked about. Prices of everything from gasoline, milk, bread, utilities, everything, were going up at rates of 8%, 10%, 12% per year!

The idealism of the '60s / early '70s had given way to an unfocused, bland society trying to dance to disco all night while just hoping that, if we ignore them, the Soviet Union would just go away.

Detente was a sham. In late '79 the USSR invaded Afghanistan and President Carter realised that he had to make foreign policy a focus. He threatened military force - while reinstituting registration for Selective Service (the draft) - in an effort to keep the Soviets from moving into Pakistan and to the Arabian Sea.

The gas lines, the Three Mile Island near-disaster and the failure and destruction of SkyLab all happened within a very short time in the spring of '79.

The Shah of Iran was overthrown by Islasist fundamentalists, and by the fall, 52 Americans were being held hostage.

Everything was a mess and the state of the Union was perfectly described (by Hamilton Jordan, I believe) as a "national malaise".

Then, in the spring of '80, there was a rescue attempt and several servive man and two helicopters were lost in the desert of Iran.

We just smacked our collective palm into our forehead shouting "Can't we do anything right anymore?!"
The doubt was palpable, stifling, alomost paralyzing when it came to looking for an optimistic outlook on the near future.

You looked to President Carter and all you could see was trouble. He seemed to have aged 15 years in 4. We must be in deep trouble; just look at this man's face.

Then Reagan showed up. Maybe we didn't hear a lot of specifics; just a bunch of talk about getting government off our backs, standing up to tyrants, getting the economy moving again. But, he exuded confidence, courage and optimism about the near future.
All we had to do was reduce the size and scope of government's influence on the economy; then just restore our belief in ourselves and our values and, by golly, everything will turn up roses.
As if saying it would make it so.

We'd seen what a Carter presidency looked like and weren't too thrilled at the idea of more of the same. So, we took a chance on Reagan.

The crackdown on the Solidarity labor union movement in Poland, in December '81, showed us again just what the Soviet Union represented. Government control over the people and their productivity.

To believe that offering a man only what he needs will inspire him to produce according to his ability is a fantasy that everyone living under such a system can attest to. Reagan didn't need to live under Communism to understand it because he instinctively knew that freedom is the natural state of man, and government's function is to serve the People.

"That, to secure these Rights, governments are instituted among men deriving their just Powers from the consent of the Governed."
--the Declaration of Independence

It was after the institution of martial law in Poland that Reagan said that the Soviet Union was "the focus of evil in the modern world" and he. was. right.

Reagan said that "we will not defeat Communism, we will transend it." By that he meant that, by persistently shining light into the dark nooks and crannies of just what Communism was and what it did to people, it will lose it's mask and even the Soviet leaders will have to come to grips with what they've done to the spirit of their people.

He called the USSR "evil" -- several times -- and never backed down from that. He explain what he meant to clearly that, eventually, the leaders of the Kremlin began to understand it themselves.

After making the case for years that economic opportunity and the competition of free markets is the way to prosperity, the rhetorical killer blow came in June, 1987 at Brandenburg Gate.

"There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, OPEN this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

And it was done, and seemingly sooner than anyone thought it would happen. Except for maybe Ronald Reagan.

"The wall cannot withstand the Truth; it cannot withstand Freedom" he said that day. That's why he said those words over and over.
The Soviet could not withstand an arms race. That's why he invited one.

Now millions in Eastern Europe are free because detente, appeasement, appologism, all took a back seat to visionary ideas, bold words and decisive action in the 1980s.

Even when his own advisors and cabinet members try to tone him down, he knew better. It was often their judgement that acting more cautiously, reticently, and speaking more diplomaticly could do more for the cause peace and freedom than to challenge openly the very justification of Communism.

Ronald Reagan's judgement was better.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at June 7, 2004 07:08 PM

Rae, I hope y'don't mind that I "double posted" this and put it up as an entry on my own blog. I was wondering why I hadn't been inspired to write a Reagan tribute yet. Yer thread inspired the above comment and I figured that might be as good I'm gonna get on this topic. :)

Posted by: Tuning Spork at June 7, 2004 07:13 PM

TS, that was just beautifully written. Well done, good sir, well done. I don't mind at all.

Posted by: Rae at June 7, 2004 10:47 PM

Hello Rae, thank you for your compliment back on Miss Barber's blog.

I was reminded of something said to me by a good friend when I was younger. He was an older God-fearing man giving me some life instruction. He told me, people may not always remember what you do or say, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

I think this speaks volumes about Mr. Reagan's character and integrity. I don't really remember all of his speaches and not too many details about his policies, but I've always remembered how he made me feel whenever I saw him on T.V. I grew up during the Reagan years in a household of serious democrats, my parents and siblings always demonized Republicans, especially Mr. Reagan. For some reason though, inspite of all of their naysaying, I would still get an overwhelming feeling of security, comfort, and awe when I heard and saw him speak. This is one aspect of my childhood that I remember and find very difficult to forget, not that I am trying to. It wasn't until later in my adult life that I began to really research His career as president and was able to put some facts and figures behind the emotion. I thank God that I was able to really learn about him as a man and as a President before his passing, that I may be able to truly miss him and mourn him.

Posted by: Jerry McClellan at June 8, 2004 08:56 AM

I believe that Mr. Reagan was the first president to call a spade a spade in that he referred to the Soviet Union as "the evil empire." In doing so, he truly distinguished that democracy and freedom are what inspires mankind to greatness.

Very true, Jerry, we do often remember more how someone made us feel, rather than their exacts words.

Posted by: Rae at June 8, 2004 10:46 AM

Communism is not evil. Communism has represented freedom in the countries of Vietnam and Cuba. The U.S backed dictatorships in both these countries previous to revolutions, but they were not 'evil' as they were pro U.S. 'Evil Empire' is a total sham....The USSR was not an empire anymore than the U.S is and it certainly wasnt evil. Its individuals who were evil. Just trying tip the scale here, i think the whole Evil Empire thing is a joke...

Posted by: GuerrillaRadio at June 8, 2004 11:35 AM

I'm sorry GuerillaRadio, but Communism is evil. Let me tell you why.

Any political system or ideology that subjugates man to the state, that claims that man was made for the state rather than the state for man, is evil. Communism asserts that the collective is what is most important not the individual. In communists states the individual is not permitted to strive to be the person God intended him to be. Instead he is made to conform and serve the body rather than pursuing his dreams with the talents and gifts with which the Creator has endowed him. Communism asserts that there is one best way and what's worse is it claims that the state knows that one best way.

"Communism has represented freedom in the countries of Vietnam and Cuba."

With all due respect, you are either high or being intentionally contrarian for the sake of argument. Cuba and Vietnam are free? That's news to me. Maybe you should have a chat with the journalists who are imprisoned in Cuba and the people who are forbidden to leave. Perhaps you should inform the woman of China who are forced to abort their babies or undergo sterilization that they are free. Maybe you should call a North Korean on his cell phone and let him know that he in fact is free. Oh wait, the Korean government doesn't allow him to own a cell phone anymore.

"The USSR was not an empire anymore than the U.S is and it certainly wasnít evil."

Again, you are either intentionally misrepresenting the facts or you are high. The USSR epitomized and empire. They aggressively sought to conquer and subjugate nations and assert their authoritarian communist rule over them. They set them to work serving the state and commanded that the manner in which they live be compatible with the Soviet Unionís totalitarian vision. This is an empire. It was an evil empire because it did this with malevolence and with no concern for the fabled workers paradise that unsurprisingly never emerged. It is further evil because it restricted the movement of its people. It had to hold on to them because it knew that a taste of freedom would destroy the illusion that the Communist state must maintain; that life sucks everywhere else and the workersí paradise is glorious.

Posted by: Patrick at June 9, 2004 11:00 PM

GR, my friend's husband is from Russia. I asked his thoughts on Reagan's influence in the tearing down of the Iron Curtain and the breakup of the Soviet Union. While he disagreed with a few things, one thing he definitely agreed with was Reagan's defining communisim as an "evil empire." I told him your comment that "communism has represented freedom in Vietnam and Cuba." His repsonse, recall as someone who has lived under a communist government and therefore a direct source..."Well, he should go and live there if he thinks it is so wonderful."

Posted by: Rae at June 10, 2004 12:18 AM

P.S. Well said Sir Patrick :)

Posted by: Rae at June 10, 2004 12:19 AM

No i am assure you im not high, and Communism is no more evil than global capitalism or transnational corporations exploitation of third world labour. With all due respect, you clearly know little about Communism as a system of government, and are letting your religious ideals and blind patriotism run free in your writing. Communism, as it was intended has never existed in its true form. Men like Stalin have twisted it...warped it to their own specification. Truely, the regimes under Stalin and the regime in North Korea now would make Marx, Engels and Lenin turn in their graves.

Who are you tell me what system of government i should believe in, after so self righteously pointing out that Communists believe their way is best? You clearly believe your way is best, and so does America. I said Communism represented freedom in Vietnam and Cuba, because factually it did. I never suggested North Korea was free. Before Fidel seized power Cuba was ran by the dictator Baptista....who supported US business interests and was therefore US backed. He didnt give a damn about the Cuban people. Vietnam? Ironic, as i am seriously considering working there for a year to teach kids English. Same case as Cuba....US backed dictator holds power......and the great democracy of the US is to scared to hold a democratic election in the country, knowing full well that Ho Chi Minh will no doubt come to power.

You say all those things about the USSR being an empire when the US did exactly the same thing? They promoted the use of 'dollar diplomacy' to effectively bring virtually the entire of Latin America under their rule. The USA was JUST as aggressive in spreading its capitalist ideals as the USSR was in spreading its communist ideals. As far as im concerned, the US is no better than the USSR. It supported fascists because they were U.S puppets, and THAT is evil. They let people in Chile, in Vietnam, in Cuba and tens of other countries suffer because their right wing rulers supported U.S interests. THAT is evil. U.S foreign policy is revolved around its own interests and no one elses. Past and present.

There have been evil Communist leaders, (Stalin...the entire North Korean dynasty...) But i know Communism as a system is not evil, when the system of global capitalism has people working for less than a $ a day all over the third world. At least under Communism, your rights as a worker are guaranteed, and to be honest Patrick, like it or not a lot of people have chosen Communism over American Capitalism. America just cannot accept it (Note Vietnam war?) Anyway....Im no 'Commie.' I live in the UK, where as it happens there is a class system that after hundreds of years, is still set in stone. I guess you could call me a Marxism socialist.

Many leaders have spoke up and given their last respects to Reagan....past leaders who were his allies. I suppose it a shame that we wont be hearing from one of Reagans biggest allies....Saddam Hussein. How ironic.

Posted by: GuerrillaRadio at June 10, 2004 10:05 AM

GR- wait, I like it that you keep coming back even though it is obvious that your politics differ. So, don't be offended. Politics and mother-in-laws raise the ire of any human.

You have to understand, we only know democracy. And, through thick and thin, it has consistently worked, so how else are we to view a system that allows no freedom of expression, speech, or choice? While we, as a country, have made mistakes, we certainly have done a lot of good...can you not see that in any way?

Do you mind if I ask you how long you have lived in GB? I mean, have you ever experienced democracy or communism? It doesn't dismiss your opinions if you have or haven't; I am just curious where from where all your thoughts on Americans and our government come?

I need to show my neighbors how to work the comments so he can "speak" directly to this discussion. He is Russian and lived under the Communist Republic. He has also experienced democracy and he says that it wins, hands down.

And if no country has yet to truly implement communism properly so that it "flourished", then isn't that an indicator of it's doom to failure?

Posted by: Rae at June 10, 2004 11:51 PM

True, the US has done a lot of good i didnt dispute that. But i truly believe that in some circumstances, Communism has benefitted the people. For example, when the Soviets swept to power in 1917 the majority of everyday Russians really supported him. Ask your Russian friend about this maybe...Lenin also destroyed serfdom, so that for the first time Russian peasants actually owned the land they worked on, and didnt exist in a system that was incredibly similiar to slavery. Of course, everything changed when Stalin came into power.

Im 19 coming 20 and i was born in England....but when i was 2 my family moved to Seattle WA, as the majority of my British family emigrated there years ago. I lived in Seattle untill i was 11, then lived in Japan for a little under a year (My father is Japanese) then moved back to England where i have lived since. Ive finished college, where i majored in history (American,British,Russian) and im currently thinking about living in Vietnam for a year. I will be going to University in another year, for History,Politics and American studies. I'll have to live in the US again for 7 months.
Ive told all this, to maybe dispel the myth you may hold that i dont like America. Truth is, i love your country. I love the people, and its sheer vastness and diversity. I may even decide to live there again, one day.
Im just not a fan of right wingism, trickle down economics, and global capitalism. These things i believe benefit the middle and upper class, and drive the working class in a an even lower state.
As i said before im not a Communist, but i hold some Marxist and Leninist ideals that a classless and equal society CAN exist but has not yet been achieved. I do NOT believe in the Communism under which your Russian friend lived under. Marx himself wrote ''Democracy is the road to Socialism.'' This clearly is not what has happened in many communist countries. I am by no means anti-democracy, but i just have an intense dislike of Reaganism as a set of political ideals. To me, making fun of people with nothing to eat and spending money on defence instead of them is no way for a government to run.

Posted by: GuerrillaRadio at June 11, 2004 07:02 AM

Thanks for letting me know a bit more about you. I always like to hear the history of my commentors or blog writers.

So, you bascially think that it isn't "right" for a man or woman to be financially successful if their neighbor isn't also?

It's interesting, we have never forced our children to share anything. We have encouraged it, but ultimately left the decision up to them. When asked by a friend one time why we didn't force sharing, my reply rather shocked her, I think. I told her that we wanted for our children to desire to do what was right because forced sharing doesn't make someone generous, it only makes them resentful. I also told her that forced sharing reminded me of communism and likened it to this: a neighbor has no table. You have two. So, the police/government comes and takes one of the tables and gives it to the neighbor. Now, the neighbor has a table on which to eat. However, you have one less and it was decided for you that would give it. Does that make you a good citizen? Does that make you a good person?

Now, in parenting, there are situations that require me to decide for the child, simply because they lack the maturity to do so for themselves. But, in good parenting, you parent yourself out of a job and in the end, you have a person ready to give because it is the right thing to do, not because he is obligated.

Posted by: Rae at June 11, 2004 08:34 AM

What i dont think is right is men profiting off the hard work of other men, while this other men (or women) that do that work live in poverty and lack rights. Reagan and Thatchers work to destroy industrial unions, to me is a blatant attack on the workers. Sharing? Sure thats a matter a choice. What a socialist system would do is provide a level playing field for everyone, instead of keeping the rich rich and the poor poor. Socialism in essence gives everyone a job, and everyone an equal opportunity. It doesnt involve giving to keep others happy. I think its the job of a central government to make sure there is work for the people, and to not let the workers be exploited by big companies. The way of keeping things fair in business is obviously unions....how are workers supposed to bring change, when they cant even bargain collectively?

Posted by: GuerrillaRadio at June 11, 2004 10:18 AM
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