Friday, July 28, 2006
Why I Love Ronald Reagan--Part 1!!
Mike over at Mike's America celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Reagan's inauguration by posting about him this past week. He invited others to post about Reagan and linked to them as well. There is a bunch of really good stuff over there that I encourage you to take a look at. I had Reagan on my list of conservative profiles to do so I figured now was as good a time as any. But what an overwhelming task. How do you fit all you want to say about Ronald Reagan into one post? I decided I can't so this profile will have at least 2 parts.
Before I share all the things about Reagan that I love I want to share my personal odyssey of coming to know him. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention to politics during Reagan's presidency. I was 10 yrs. old when he became president and 18 when he left office. Oh how I wish I had been paying attention to all those important events that happened during that time.
So how did I come to learn of Reagan? .
After graduating from College it hit me that I should know something about current events and I started paying attention. As I listened to Rush he kept talking about what a great man Reagan was and I wanted to find out for myself. I was also really into Presidential biographies about all the presidents. So I read lots of books on the presidents and I watched documentaries. I also listened to Dinesh D'Souza's "Ronald Reagan" and Peter Robinson's "How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life" on tape.
But Peggy Noonan is the real reason I grew to have such a respect and admiration for Reagan. Her book "When Character Was King" did an awesome job of capturing the man who was Ronald Reagan. She enabled you to see his heart and who he really was. It gave me a love for Reagan and a great appreciation for Noonan as an author. It is one of the best books I have ever read. She was honest about his strengths and weaknesses. And even his weaknesses made him likable because it showed that he was human.
A brief factual biography:
Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois to a poor family. His father was an alcoholic but his mother was a woman of faith who passed her faith onto her son. He graduated from Eureka College in 1932 and then became a Radio Sports Announcer. His film career lasted from 1937 until about 1954 and by the time it was over he had acted in 50 films. He married Jane Wyman in 1940 and later they had a daughter Maureen and adopted their son Michael. In 1941 during World War II he spent 3 years in the army in the Motion Picture Army Unit. In 1947 he became President of the Screen Actors Guild. Also in 1947 they lost a baby who was born 4 months premature. In 1948 Reagan and Jane divorced. In 1952 he married Nancy Davis and they later had Patricia and Ronald. In 1954 he began to work on a GE TV program that lasted for 8 years. In 1962 he officially switched from the Democrat to the Republican party. And in 1966 he ran for Governor of California and won and was also re-elected. In 1976 he ran for the Republican nomination against Gerald Ford and just barely lost. In 1980 he won in a landslide against Jimmy Carter and again in 1984 against Walter Mondale. He was shot in 1981 by John Hinckly Jr. In 1994 he announced he had alzheimer's and on June 5, 2004 he died at the age of 93.
The Nation's 40th President was loved and hated. He inspired many but was controversial to others. When asked once what his place in history would be this is what he said: "What I'd really like to do is go down as the president who made Americans believe in themselves again." Reagan was hopeful and optimistic and he was exactly what America desperately needed in 1981. JFK had been assassinated and we had had four failed presidents after that. Combine this with watergate and the American people were starting to lose their faith in America. Reagan helped restore that. When Peter Robinson was asked how to sum Reagan up he simply stated "conviction and joy". How true that is. He stood up for his strong convictions in the face of fierce opposition and he did it all with optimism, humor and joy. Ronald Reagan himself said: "There's no question I am an idealist, which is another way of saying I am an American."
Tomorrow in part 2 I will share stories and quotes and examples of his heart, his convictions, his response to criticism, his belief in freedom, his faith and his optimism.
Biography of Ronald Reagan
"When Character Was King" by Peggy Noonan
"How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life" by Peter Robinson