One for the Gipper
June 8, 2004
The Gipper is gone. But he will not be forgotten.
Even Ronald Reagan's political enemies salute his optimistic spirit and his undaunted faith in the American people. It was this connection with the people that allowed Reagan to remold much of American politics.
Reagan never saw himself as a professional politician. "One thing our Founding Fathers could not foresee," Reagan once told students, "was a nation governed by professional politicians who had a vested interest in getting reelected. They probably envisioned a fellow serving a couple of hitches and then . . . getting back to the farm."
Unlike career politicians, Reagan had convictions . . . and the courage of those convictions. Jack Kemp put it this way: "Most politicians talk about policies and the changing issues of the day. Ronald Reagan talked about principles - deeply held beliefs. Policies shift with the breeze of public opinion, but principles are anchors, even in a storm."
President Reagan also had enormous confidence in the average American. "My optimism comes not just from my strong faith in God," the Gipper offered, "but from my strong and enduring faith in man." Another time, he remarked, "We don't have to turn to our history books for heroes. They're all around us."
And in his farewell address, Reagan modestly stated, "I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn't spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation."
Perhaps the most appropriate way to honor the memory of Ronald Reagan is to share his abundant faith that, even now, America's best days are ahead.