Friday, November 04, 2005

The Day the Revolution Began

Lest we forget (and apparently, many of us have), today is the 25th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's victory over Jimmy Carter in the 1980 Presidential Election. Reagan's victory marked the start of the modern conservative revolution that triggered (among other things), the largest peace time economic expansion in our nation's history and the end of the Soviet Union.

Politically, the Reagan landslide eventually produced Republican majorities in the House and Senate, and control of most of the nation's governorships as well. There were seminal moments in the conservative movement before Reagan (the founding of National Review and Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential bid come to mind), but the '80 election marked the death knell of New Deal liberalism and the emergence of conservatism as a majority movement.

While liberal academics tried to dismiss Reagan as a lightweight and out-of-touch, the impact of his presidency became quickly apparent. Less than 20 years after leaving office (a fortnight by historical standards) Mr. Reagan is already hailed as one of the two most important Presidents of the 20th Century, a man whose policies and legacy liberated millions from the slavery of totalitarianism. While Mr. Reagan was too modest to claim glory for himself, he was always certain that his vision for America was correct and he would be vindicated by the judgment of history. Reviewing the accomplishments of his administration during his farewell address (December 1988), Reagan observed "not bad...not bad at all."

So amid the bustle of your daily life, stop for a moment and remember the great man to whom we all owe a debt. The words from his first inaugural address, printed on his son's website, still ring true today. And as you read them, remember: the revolution Reagan started is far from finished.

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