A day at the Ronald Reagan Library

Thank you again Mr. Reagan

This afternoon the Tygrrrr Express is Simi Valley bound for an afternoon of fun at the Ronald Reagan Library.

This is my third or fourth consecutive year of attending the Reagan Library. The Republican Jewish Coalition has their annual event there every July. A tour of the library is followed by a reception, dinner, and celebrating. Several notables will be speaking.

This year the event is special because the event is being held in the Air Force One Pavilion.

Below are some the Gipper’s best lines.

“Here is how the Cold War ends. We win. They lose.”

“Tonight is a very special night for me. Then again, at my age, every night is a special night.”

“I have told my cabinet that if there is an emergency, contact me immediately. Wake me up, even if I am sleeping in the middle of a cabinet meeting.”

“I knew Thomas Jefferson. He was a friend of mine. Governor Clinton, you’re no Thomas Jefferson.”

“I start my day precisely at 8am. It was brought to my attention that I have a daily 7am briefing with my National Security Advisor. I let it be known that he will be waiting about an hour.”

“Mr. Gorbachev…Tear down this wall.”

Ronald Reagan’s best line could never have been scripted in a million years. At his toughest moment, his calmness reassured a nation. After getting shot, just as the doctors were about to perform life saving surgery on him, President Reagan uttered that one sentence.

“I hope you’re all republicans.”

The head doctor said, “Mr. President, right now we are all republicans.”

With the exception of my own grandparents, there is nobody that has commanded more reverence from me than Ronald Wilson Reagan. I have said more than once that Ronald Reagan should be placed on Mount Rushmore, minted into coins, and placed on page one of every economics book. Schoolchildren should send him thank you notes for preventing a nuclear war.

Ronald Reagan was a giant, and being at his library is inspiring. I can feel his presence, and hope that he and God are sharing jellybeans and anecdotes.

Below is my letter to him, originally posted on the third anniversary of his death. He lived until age 93, yet with all great ones, he left us too soon.

Thank you again Mr. Reagan

Dear President Reagan,

I wish you were still alive to see the world today that you left behind. It is not flawless, but it is better than you could have possibly imagined.

20 years ago you challenged Mr. Gorbachev to “Tear Down This Wall.” As you know, it came crashing down. Millions of Eastern Europeans are now free. You understood that Freedom is not an American value. It is not uniquely Western. It is a gift from God, and everyone worldwide is entitled to it.

Today there are a billion Muslims, mostly Arabs, living under captivity. Some people believe that these people hate America, and everything we stand for. No, they don’t. They want to be free. They want to come here, and live the American Dream. They want to be able to make their government stronger without the fear of being shot on sight. Most of all, they want a sense of hope and optimism. This seems to be in shorter supply since you exited the world stage.

Mr. Reagan, if only you could see the internet generation. The Russians were once seen as our enemies. People ducked under their desks in fear of nuclear war. Now Americans and Russians chat with each other on instant messenger. We send happy faces and jokes.

While young children worldwide play with each other online, adults are engaging in global commerce like never before. Ebay and other websites allow people to conduct business globally with the touch of a button. Best of all, despite the efforts of some know nothing politicians, internet commerce is currently not taxed.

The economy is strong. No, we have not defeated the business cycle, but President Bush brought back Reaganomics. You faced a recession and a bear market in stocks, but your supply side tax cuts helped fuel an economic expansion and a bull market that defied expectations. President Bush also started out with a recession and a vicious bear market, but thanks to aggressive tax cuts, the stock market is higher than ever, and the economy is clicking on all cylinders.

Things are not perfect Mr. Reagan. Although we made peace with the Russians, Islamofacism is spiraling out of control. However, there is hope on the horizon. You bombed Libya in 1986 when Khadafi Duck was going crazy. This briefly kept him in check. Would you believe that our current President has brought democracy to Afghanistan, and toppled Saddam Hussein in Iraq? On top of that, Khadafi Duck decided to move Libya towards normalcy. He did not decide to act normal due to 20 years of negotiations. He saw the handwriting on the wall, and realized that he enjoyed being alive.

Mr. Reagan, our current President George W. Bush is under siege. He is a good man, but he is not a good communicator. He is plainspoken, but not articulate. He has an opposition that hates him in ways that make your Presidency seem a love fest. Yet he remains undaunted, not because of so called stubbornness, but because he understands that visions do not get implemented overnight.

In 1987, there was talk of “Reagan fatigue.” People said you were losing your luster. The 1988 republican candidates were said to be part of a losing ticket. You were mired in a scandal about nothing, and some said your Presidency was exhausted. One year later, your Vice President won a decisive victory. Gracious to the end, you refused to criticize those who came after you, preferring to let them write their own histories. If only one of the men you defeated had your class and graciousness.

It’s amazing what 20 years can do. You are ranked among the all time greats, and every republican nominee wants to carry your mantle. I hope they understand this as some of them run in terror from President George W. Bush. It amazes me how they can claim your mantle, yet run from the man who has embraced it not just in words, but in deeds.

America is still that shining city on a hill. My grandparents came here with nothing, escaping the Nazis. They saved up enough to survive. Their children made it to the American middle class, and owned a home in a nice suburban neighborhood. I managed to get an MBA, and have advanced even further. The American Dream is not a cliche for the privileged few. It is the norm.

The two things that do seem to be missing today are civility…and humor. Not humor at the expense of other people, but self deprecating humor, a willingness to realize that while we are creatures of God, we are quite flawed. Your many quips are legendary, but the one that stays in my mind is how you reacted after you were shot. Looking up at the doctors, you said “I hope you’re all republicans.” Many people who wanted to dislike you simply were unable to do so.

The media were polite with you, but were not your friends. You simply talked over and around them to those who mattered…the American people. You treated people with dignity, and were as beloved by Wall Street bankers as Iowa corn farmers. Would you believe that another movie star actor is now the governor of California? In addition, yet another movie and television star became a senator from Tennessee, and is a legitimate Presidential contender. The reason people like him is because he is simply…well…likable.

As I said Mr. Reagan, there are plenty of problems in this world. Yet the one thing you brought to the table was optimism. This was not pie in the sky Pollyanna thinking. It was a true and unwavering belief in the human spirit, and the beauty of America. Would you believe that France, Germany and Canada all elected leaders that like America? Pro-American sentiment is spreading, despite attempts to prove otherwise.

People in Iraq voted in three separate democratic elections. It has been a bumpy ride, but isn’t all democracy fragile in the beginning? People are less patient than they used to be.

You were there to guide the nation when the Space Shuttle Challenger took seven lives from us. Your words that day healed the nation. I do not care who wrote them. Only you could have said them. Our current President had to deal with a space tragedy where more astronauts died. It never gets easier. Yet after taking time to heal, space exploration has soldiered on.

Speaking of soldiers, our military might is strong. Sometimes we fight, and sometimes we negotiate. Sometimes we have political opponents who want to fight battles that can be solved with conversations, and talk to people that need to be removed by force. You understood right from wrong, standing squarely with a small democracy called Israel against dictatorships that wanted to destroy it. That conflict still exists, but like you, our current President has allowed Israel to fiercely defend itself, consistent with his support for the nobility of democracy.

I remember being a teenager when you and Mr. Gorbachev shook hands. It was one of the greatest days in world history. Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin sometimes have an uneasy relationship that is complex, but they are certainly not at war. They often hold joint press conferences, and air their differences in a healthy manner.

Mr. Reagan, I hope you are resting comfortably in heaven. Just know that your vision of the world, slowly but surely, is being implemented, and the world is consistently better off for it. Anyone who thinks that they are destined to a life of misery and hopelessness should talk to people who lived through the iron curtain in Eastern Europe.

One other front we are grappling with is that of world pestilences and diseases. Africa is suffering from Aids, as is the rest of the world. However, by freeing pharmaceutical companies from endless regulations, they have created drugs that have plunged their profits into research and development, saving many lives and curing many diseases. Perhaps if they had a little more time, they could have cured Alzheimers disease and saved you the ignominy of your final years. Then again, perhaps your work was done, and you exited the world stage, having completed everything you needed to do. Nevertheless, a lot of people still miss you sir.

Yes Mr. Reagan, the Berlin Wall came crashing down. It tumbled, and crumbled. Yet if only you could see that what you started was only the beginning.

Godspeed Mr. Reagan. For free people everywhere, I thank you very much.


2 Responses to “A day at the Ronald Reagan Library”

  1. Well, I’ll say this; when Reagan said “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help,” he really proved his point.

    Never elect, hire, appoint, aquire, sign, or contract a person who hates and wants to destroy the very profession they pursue.

    I believe historians will mark Reagan as a popular and rather benign president who happened to preside over the early years of the American decline. I wonder if he ever knew that. I’d bet he did. He was a little smarter than most of his detractors would admit. Not that he was some great, progressive mind. To be honest, I really could never fathom the man’s depth. But I was young then. So maybe I missed something. Just the same, he’s not my favorite president by a long stretch, not even in my lifetime. Heck, I’d rank GHWB over Reagan. But Reagan was, I guess, a uniquely American character. I don’t think we could elect a Reagan today because of his past, which is sad as I’m sure we’d be better off. Considering people as they are as opposed to what they once were would be better than the trivial, yellow-tabloid nonsense we see in today’s presidential vetting. I mean, could you imagine an actors guild president rising up through the GOP ranks today? Fuggetabowtit.

    I do miss the eighties, though, and Reagan reminds me of those times. I think they’re too overrated these days, though. It was great – if you were a white, middle-class kid that went to good schools, or a stock or commodities trader in those early free-trade/dereg days – but if you were poor, working-class, a minority, an immigrant, or just any poor schmuck who like to party a bit, those days were not so great at all. The blow-back from all that dumb governance is coming back on us now. I wonder if Reagan understood that. I can’t imagine.


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