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Ronald Reagan’s Legacy Lives On: A Post by Conservative Girl with a Voice

Posted by conservativegirlwithavoice on February 5, 2011

UPDATE: Please visit this website to sign the petition to name the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge after Ronald Reagan. We only have until tomorrow, and we have nearly 300 signatures to go. Please the spread the word! Signing the petition is really simple and takes less than a minute out of your day!!! THANKS!!!

I miss President Ronald Reagan. As we quickly approach this coming weekend, Sunday marks what would have been President Reagan’s 100th birthday. As a young conservative and a self-described “Reagan baby,” I am always eager to hear stories about this dear man, father, president and all-around amazing American Patriot. Ronald Reagan will be remembered for many things- everything from how he managed to bring the country together during hard and difficult times, his conviction as held strong to his beliefs, the way in which he had an amazing sense of humor, and the everlasting love he and his wife, Nancy, shared. Everyone has their own favorite memory of this man and his legacy. For me, it is the way in which he valued the people and did everything in his power to put their best interests first. The Reagan Library is a great resource for those who want to learn more about President Reagan’s legacy. I have never had the honor of visiting the library, but it is on my bucket list of things to do this year. Until then, I will continue to read about his legacy and the important impact that he had on the country as a whole. There is a great write up I recently found on the Reagan Library Website that describes Reagan’s belief in “a more perfect union.” In light of this coming Sunday, I have decided to include it below as it is a classic example of just what made Ronald Reagan that “classic” brand of compassion, genuineness, integrity, and character mixed with that no-nonsense toughness that makes a successful president a great leader:

Given the dire state of the economy facing Ronald Reagan when he assumed the Presidency, it would have been understandable had he focused exclusively on those challenges. But he came to office with a broad agenda, and there were many important problems to solve. One that was of particular importance to the President was the how well the government served the people. He firmly believed that the government should work for the people, not the other way around. Governor and then President Reagan thought of the people as his boss, who, by electing him, had hired him to do the job. Throughout his career, Ronald Reagan was fond of telling true stories about the illogical and often mind-boggling – not to mention exasperating – inefficiency of the Federal bureaucracy. Although he did so with a smile, underlying the story-telling was a deep frustration. He vowed that if he ever had an opportunity to do something about it, he would. And he did. Not only did his Administration reduce the burden of excessive, redundant and unnecessary paperwork on businesses working with the government, it made changes that affected real people on a daily basis. When President Reagan took office, it took seven weeks to get a Social Security card and 43 days to get a passport. By the time he left, either one – or both – could be had in just 10 days.

As much as he used his own passport over the years, and as exotic and exciting as some of his foreign trips were, Ronald Reagan always looked forward to coming home. He genuinely loved America. From his beloved California to the New York Island, he was in awe of our country’s sheer beauty. Spacious skies, amber waves of grain, purple mountains’ majesties, oceans white with foam were not just words to him. It was how he saw America. He believed he had a special responsibility to protect the country’s environment and to preserve its natural beauty. President Reagan did more than just talk about it. The Reagan Administration was the first to establish a special unit at the Department of Justice to prosecute criminal polluters.
Polluters were not the only criminals who President Reagan intended to put out of business. Keeping people safe was always a top-of-agenda item for the Reagan Administration. It took a while, but in 1984, Congress passed the President’s Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which kept dangerous people behind bars, restricted the use of the insanity defense, reviewed Federal sentencing guidelines and toughened penalties for drug dealers and others. That same year, the President signed another very significant piece of legislation which made child pornography a separate criminal offense. The effect of the President’s work to prevent crime and put criminals where they belonged was dramatic. Nearly 2 million fewer households were hit by crime in 1987 than in 1980.

Preventing crime and locking up bad guys was only part of what President Reagan did to ensure justice for all. Another key component of his program was the appointment of judges who would faithfully interpret the Constitution rather than legislate from the bench. Of all the judicial appointments made by the President, none was more historically significant than Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981. When Ronald Reagan became the first President to nominate a woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court, he shattered a glass ceiling that had been in place since the founding of the country, forever changing not only the judiciary, but the role of women in our society. Little girls everywhere could now aspire to heights previously unavailable to them.

In many ways, President Reagan’s nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor was emblematic of how he viewed people – without an iota of prejudice. Gender, race ethnicity and religion just did not matter to him in the slightest. They were never factors in his decision making, other than when people were being discriminated against. When that happened, President Reagan was a tenacious fighter for equal rights. Under his leadership, the Federal government equaled or surpassed the number of civil rights cases filed by any previous Administration in virtually every enforcement category. Principal civil rights organizations received almost 18% more in funding.
President Reagan never forgot what it was like to grow up in a household with very limited financial means. He knew its impact on quality of life and helping the poor escape poverty was something he cared about deeply. Under his leadership, Federal spending for basic low-income assistance programs rose by 40%. The President also knew that a good education was the ticket out of poverty, and when his National Commission on Excellence in Education termed the U.S “A Nation at Risk” because of declining educational quality, he called for a variety of remedies including overall higher standards and accountability, parental choice and merit pay for teachers and principals.

Ronald Reagan was the first President to address the issue of HIV and AIDS. He established a Presidential Commission and consulted with Government agencies and private groups, after which a broad plan to fight the disease was implemented. Billions of dollars were committed for research, regulations making it difficult to get drugs to patients were eliminated and educational programs were developed, all of which were underpinned by a message of empathy for those infected. In a speech to the American Foundation for AIDS Research in May, 1987 he said:

“What our citizens must know is this: America faces a disease that is fatal and spreading. And this calls for urgency, not panic. It calls for compassion, not blame. And it calls for understanding, not ignorance. It’s also important that America not reject those who have the disease, but care for them with dignity and kindness.”

There was not a day during his eight years in the White House that Ronald Reagan did not work to ensure the domestic tranquility written about in the very first sentence of the Constitution. Forming a more perfect union was why he sought the Presidency in the first place, and was his “north star.”

Thank you, President Reagan, for instilling in us the value of character, integrity and the importance of aiming for that “north star.” The more I study you, the more I am reminded just how great a country I live in. Your dream for a better, stronger America lives on, and it is my hope that Americans will realize the importance of your legacy and the way in which you restored the American dream.

I leave you with the insight from Americans, who like me, continue to be inspired by this great man:

What an amazing political leader and role model!!! He once said that the American people see themselves in him… and that we feel as if he is one of us, how true is that? He was a type of father figure to so many of us. He is definitely missed!

-Reanna

I loved Reagan because he was always positive in the face of doubt and sadness. He loved this country more than most people and would not get mad. He used humor and commonsense to win a argument.

-Brad

President Reagan was the epitome of class, of skill and of true leadership. He did not side with the special interests or the lobbyists, but rather he stood up for every man, woman and child; both the born and unborn.

As someone from outside of the United States, I’m glad to think back a few years and of course not only think of President Reagan but of Margaret Thatcher too. They really were two peas of the same pod. Strong, fearless and determined. Through everything, President Reagan and America were there with their hand out ready to help us, and the same of course went for Great Britain. We were two nations joined under the magnificent leadership of two great leaders. So not only to President Reagan, but to the USA: Thank you! Thank you for always having our backs.

People often wonder what there is left to act as a testament to President Reagan and all he stood for. I say look around! The fact that there is still freedom in the world is down to many people. And one of those people is Ronald Reagan.

-Daniel from the UK

In 1986, I was outside with my friends shooting off fireworks. As a young twenty-something, we were just having a great time. I went into my house to go to the bathroom and didn’t come back out until about 45 minutes later. I watched that speech, glued to the couch with my parents, knowing that my friends were outside waiting for me. I didn’t care. I was stuck to the set, watching the speech. Once they started shooting off the fireworks in New York, I went back outside. When my friend Ed asked where I was, I told him about the speech. He asked why I didn’t come and get him. I told him, I couldn’t move from the TV. (Watch the speech here.)

-Patrick

President Reagan, thanks for the memories!!! I would like to close this post by sharing what a friend recently told me. He said that we could really use another Ronald Reagan. Yes… yes we could!!!

(Click here to visit Conservative Girl with a Voice and become a follower. Follow me on Twitter @RachelleFriberg.)

One Response to “Ronald Reagan’s Legacy Lives On: A Post by Conservative Girl with a Voice”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sarah Palin News and manonthestreet, mikeswebpage. mikeswebpage said: Sarah Palin- Ronald Reagan’s Legacy Lives On: A Post by Conservative Girl with a Voice: I miss P… http://bit.ly/gbiQnH @mikes_web_page […]

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