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Creating a new holiday
By Bruce Walker
The legacy of Ronald Reagan surpasses any president in modern history. He confronted one of the most evil regimes in human history - Leftist thugs who murdered more people than even the Leftist thugs of Nazism - and ignoring everyone and everything except his own conscience and will, Ronald Reagan toppled that evil empire.
Because of him, we do not wake up each day wondering if a new challenge from the Kremlin may bring the world to the brink of thermonuclear suicide. Because of him, the peoples of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic live in free and independent nations. Because of him, the German people can control their own destiny. Because of him, the threat of world enslavement by totalitarians has largely vanished.
Leftists grudgingly acknowledge that this great victory was similar to the Allied victory over the Axis in the Second World War or the Union victory over the South in the Civil War. That grossly understates what President Reagan accomplished. Ronald Reagan was a greater president than Franklin Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln.
Each of these three presidents confronted an undeniable evil, and each ultimately defeated that evil. But the similarities end there. FDR and Lincoln were penultimate politicos, who would have prevented war even if it meant that evil would live. Reagan was committing to defeating evil, and because of his willingness to fight that evil, the world was spared the physical destruction of entire nations and the decimation of entire peoples.
America paid a price for the moral ambivalence of FDR and Lincoln. Roosevelt befriended the monstrous regime of Stalin in order to defeat the equally monstrous and more dangerous regime of Hitler. Lincoln suspended constitutional rights on a massive scale and largely destroyed the sovereignty of state governments to win the Civil War.
Presidents of the Cold War before Ronald Reagan left tens of thousands of American soldiers buried in Korea and Vietnam, without bringing the world any closer to triumphant over evil. Reagan alone was able to articulate perfectly the moral hollowness of totalitarian Leftism.
As a consequence, the world that Reagan left us is much better than the world that Roosevelt left us, which had the Red Army at the Elbe River and half of the Korean peninsula occupied by a ghastly regime. And as a consequence of Ronald Reagan's clear moral voice, he did not leave America, as Lincoln did, with the residual evil of a reduced form of black slavery.
Lincoln, like Roosevelt, was a politician first and a moral leader second. His campaign in 1860 was not an unflinching repudiation of slavery as evil, but more an effort to move the nation toward a position of opposition to slavery. As a result, the moral blight that human slavery represented was treated with rhetorical reservation. It took a century for the wrong of legal racism to end in America.
Roosevelt's campaign in 1940, although tilted against Nazi Germany, was like Lincoln's campaign eighty years earlier, a moral equivocation. Here was a man with more political capital than any president in history, commanding by far the greatest economy in human history, and FDR cannot use that power to define America's purpose as ending Nazism. Why does anyone think this man was either great or good?
The bloodless victory by Reagan is better in every way that the Civil War of Lincoln or the stumbling entry into world war by FDR. There is only one real precedent in modern American history: the dismantling of Jim Crow by Martin Luther King.
Conservatives opposed Martin Luther King Day because of our problems with some of his politics. Compared with modern "civil rights leaders" is there any question that Dr. King is a vastly superior example of a liberal with conscience?
Conservatives and other normal people should begin immediately to ask for a Ronald Reagan Day, and this should specifically note that like Dr. King, President Reagan not only did great things but he did them with nobility. Resolutions establishing Ronald Reagan Day should explicitly make the connection to the methods and the moral purpose of Dr. King.
Our campaign should begin with state governments where conservative Republicans dominate. We may well wish, when state law allows, for a popular vote on the issue. Beyond all else, we must push and push and push, until the ugly hatred that is Leftism either shows its snarling face or sulks back into its den.
Bruce Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent
contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.
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