Today would have been President Ronald Reagan’s 94th birthday.
President Reagan meant a lot to me. I never met the man, nor did I ever vote for him; I was two weeks shy of my eighth birthday when he was first elected to the White House. But growing up in the Reagan era, I couldn’t help but be influenced by his policies, his philosophies and most of all his presence. He was just there, like a permanent fixture, and I grew up around him.
Likewise with me. I vividly remember President Reagan’s first inauguration, watching the coverage on television the afternoon and evening after I got home from school. First, at the sitter who take care of several children after school while their parents were still working, and later, with my parents, over dinner.
As with Jeff, President Reagan has influenced me even more as I got older, and took more of an interest in politics. Many consider FDR the greatest president of the 20th century, but I would have to disagree. FDR offered shorter-term solutions to short-term problems that have blossomed in to a monster federal bureaucracy. FDR may have done most of the work toward winning the Second World War, but he did so while allowing the evil influence of communism to spread throughout Asia, Eastern Europe, and even within the ranks of his own administration. He left us the Cold War.
Which Reagan won. The left called Reagan crazy, a cowboy (sound familiar?), one who would get us in to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Instead, Reagan won victory after victory after victory against the Soviets, without a missile ever being launched. At the same time, he oversaw the greatest eight-year period of growth our nation has ever enjoyed. For me, and many others, it’s Ronald Wilson Reagan who stands on the shoulders of giants in the 20th century.