BEACON FOR THE STANDARD BEARER OF 2008
August 17, 2008
The 2008 national political conventions are in the news today. The beginning of the Democratic Convention is only days away, and the Republican convention follows soon thereafter. It was twenty-four years ago, on August 19, 1984, in Houston, Texas, that Ronald Reagan was nominated by the Republicans for the Presidency of the United States. Little did America know then what a transformational leader they were about to elect. The legacy of Ronald Reagan and his standard of excellence in leadership will live in the hearts and minds of people the world over. Will the same be true of the standard bearer of 2008?
When evaluating the successes of a leader it is important to ask what differentiates a placeholder from a leader. What distinguishes a Ronald Reagan from a Jimmy Carter? We feel it is a multitude of things, but importantly it is a sense of purpose to advance beyond current boundaries and go beyond the current guard; in other words, to transcend the time. When Ronald Reagan said "Tear down this wall" history rightly judged Ronald Reagan as the transcendent leader of the second half of the twentieth century. When he promoted economic growth and the meaningful changes of supply-side economics he transcended the times. Whereas, Jimmy Carter was a victim of his times not a leader of them.
When we see the two candidates of today it is difficult to compare them to Reagan. However, we note, if a candidate is willing to lose an election to pursue the right and just outcome, they would be in the Reagan mold. Being eloquent as Barack Obama but without a vision is inconsistent with empowering the American people. One must have a vision worthy of the nation, not to demagogue its people. Rather than attack free trade we must make our nation competitive again with lowering taxes and less spending. We cannot compete by complaining. We can out-compete by reducing taxes, and place fewer burdens on doing business. This country must begin to live within its means and not make most promises to its people which it cannot fulfill. Our problems will not go away by complaining but by action.
At the close of Reagan's Presidency, he said: "And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was 8 years ago. But more than that: After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home." Those were the words spoken at the closing of Reagan's farewell address, and these words will live on as long as America itself.
When asked what the legacy of his Presidency would be, Reagan said modestly and reluctantly that he, "advanced the boundaries of freedom in a world more at peace with itself." His policy of "peace through strength" expanded freedom to unlikely places. His policies drove the Soviet Union bankrupt while He expanded the boundaries of freedom beyond the Iron Curtain, ending a yoke of bondage for entire civilizations; people who could never have voted for him, have a better life because of him. That legacy was admirable but not possible without a strong personal conviction in the decency and wisdom of the individual, across the entire globe. Ronald Reagan was an optimist and a true man of courage. He gave us a New World and led us to global economic prosperity and optimism about the future of the world. Ronald Reagan: a conviction based leader. He genuinely believed in his ideals and in the worth and dignity of people, regardless of age, creed, or stature.
It was in Ronald Reagan's character that he never took himself too seriously. We remember the lighter moments, the familiar nod of his head, and a bit of a wink in his eye. As proud as he was to be President and his respect for the Presidency, he regarded himself as a temporary occupant. "This is the people's house," he often said, and felt as he did while growing up, "living above the store." Like most successful leaders, Reagan had developed a set of core beliefs long before he came to the presidency. He saw America as a nation with a special mission. That America should be a symbol of justice where strength, freedom, and values are king. He had a trust in the people and a love for freedom, rooted in the wisdom of the Founders. Indeed, more than once, he sounded like one of them. Ronald Reagan: President, Commander -in- Chief, Leader, and Role model: He has given all America and much of the world, a brighter dawn ahead "as a shining city on a hill." As captain of the ship of state, he calmed the troubled waters and provided reassurance to the traveling pilgrims that freedom was within all of us, and America was the world's model. Margaret Thatcher said in her Eulogy of Ronald Reagan, "We here still move in twilight. But we have one beacon to guide us that Ronald Reagan never had. We have HIS example." What an example Reagan is for the "lackluster" American hero candidate John McCain and the freshman Senator perceived as "extreme left wing" candidate Barack Obama. What a legacy Ronald Reagan has left for the standard bearer of 2008. And that is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.