Saturday, June 05, 2004

Remembering Reagan

We should enjoy the obituaries and memorials on TV this weekend while they last. It will be a very long time before Reagan is remembered as positively.

All too soon, probably within the week, the airwaves and editorial pages will be dominated by Reagan's critics, and we'll hear what a horrible blot on America those eight years really were.

It's up to us to remember and remind that Ronald Reagan believed morality extended to political systems, that democracy in its various forms was morally good, and totalitarianism in all its varieties was evil. Not just distasteful, or pollutive, or economically depressing, or intellectually regressive, but evil. And evil should not be accommodated or managed or even contained, but repulsed and frustrated and, if at all possible, eradicated.

Ronald Reagan believed that America, because of its commitment to freedom and justice, was morally superior to its geopolitical opposition. He believed that America was unique among nations for its ability to embrace reform and heed idealism. He believed that society might not be perfectable, but it certainly was capable of improvement, and with properly optimistic leadership seemingly impossible reforms could be achieved.

And we should also remember that when these ideals were offered to the American public at the voting booth, they were endorsed in a landslide.

The Left never accepted Reagan's message, and even in 2004 they are spouting the same tripe about terrorism they offered about communism: The US can't win. The US shouldn't win. The US doesn't have all the answers, or maybe any of the answers. The US should approach the world humbly as a neophyte awaiting instruction. The US can never be right when it stands alone.

Reagan laughed at that, and went on to solve the most pressing problems of our era. Those of us who experienced Reagan's unrepentant championship of American independence, liberty, and opportunity must continue to meet his challenge, as we go on without him:

"The house we hope to build is not for my generation but for yours. It is your future that matters. And I hope that when you are my age, you will be able to say as I have been able to say: We lived in freedom. We lived lives that were a statement, not an apology."

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