A great man died Saturday. Ronald Reagan was a champion of simple, powerful ideas. He believed that the purpose of government is to serve people, not people the government. He believed right makes might, and that evil brings weakness. He understood that communism was evil because it held people in captivity. These beliefs allowed him to see that the Soviet Union was on the brink of collapse even as the State Department and the CIA argued otherwise.
He had a servant's heart. He understood that his position was not his to exploit – he refused to even take off his coat and tie in the Oval Office. Even in his decline, his wife Nancy sought to continue his service by raising awareness and funding for Alzheimer's research. Recently, Nancy bravely came out in favor of embryonic stem cell research.
When Reagan came to office many people felt that the best days for America were behind it. We were experiencing a new form of misery – economic stagnation with inflation. This prompted the creation of the "misery index" and a new word "stagflation."
Reagan had this bizarre idea that he could stimulate the economy by cutting taxes. It worked. And the government was rewarded with increased tax revenues as the economy improved.
On a personal note, much of my optimism about the future is due to Mr. Reagan. I would have been less likely to join with Phil in saying that things are getting "better all the time" were it not for the influence of this remarkable man during my formative years.
From Mr. Reagan's 1994 farewell letter:
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 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. Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you."