Reagan At 93

I’d be utterly remiss if I didn’t mention the birthday of Ronald Reagan, the greatest American president of the 20th Century. Peter Robinson has a good retrospective in NRO. Ronald Reagan’s brilliant farewell address is still as valid today as it was then. His words are perhaps now more bittersweet than they were then, but they still speak of Reagan’s eternal optimism and hope:

And that’s about all I have to say tonight, except for one thing. The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the `shining city upon a hill.’ The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free. I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.

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.

We’ve done our part. And as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for 8 years did the work that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren’t just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all.

Ronald Reagan may suffer from the tragedy of Alzheimer’s Disease, but while Communism has been relegated to the graveyard of history, his legacy thrives on.

One thought on “Reagan At 93

  1. Reagan’s legacy will forever be mixed and he will go down as middle of the road if presidents were ranked. The main problem is that he has been so viciously attacked by elements from the left, that a lot of legitimate criticism of him has gotten buried under their drivel. And the openly hostile miniseries on his life just added to the evidence that there are those who would seek to completely demonize him. Domestically he was a man who believed in his country (something his predecessor clearly did not), and his fight to end communism was admirable and largely succesful. Sadly it meant turning a blind eye to the atrocities of right wing despots in central america. But that was all just a “bum rap” right? A good man who made some bad choices, who is either lionized or demonized. That is Reagan’s true legacy.

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