Opinion / Politics / We The People

Remembering Ronald Reagan and Our Better Angels – Timely

ronald reagan

Ronald Reagan’s White House, between 1981 and 1983, was a dynamic, inspiring, almost electric place to work.  People walked on air, worked to all hours – particularly people like Dave Stockman and Roger Porter, Ed Meese and Jim Baker.  Late at night, you could almost hear the Liberty Bell ringing.

The place, times and man radiated a sense of destiny, putting the world right, lifting the human spirit.  We need that spirit of hope, opportunity, can-do and oneness again.  Here is a secret – it is there to be found.  The Liberty Bell still rings.

Reagan was a conservative.  They say he was elected on six words:  Strong defense, smaller government, lower taxes.  To that, add a good moral compass, no confusion on faith, conscience or commitment.  He had a knack for plainly explaining the “why” behind moral values and American history – to everyone.

He kept faith with the past, the kind of faith that comes from surviving hard times, an alcoholic father, The Depression, World War II and, as California’s Governor, the rocky 1960’s.  He had grounding, and therefore could communicate why history and grounding mattered, from Normandy to tearing down the Berlin Wall. 

Reagan could appreciate America’s innate goodness, greatness, destiny and unity.  He was also gifted at conveying it to America with lightness and persuasion, not with hurry or fury, just straight talk.   He defended our Constitution, limited government, separation of powers, democracy, capitalism, liberty, equality, a strong military, and genius of average Americans.  He foresaw and facilitated the Soviet Union’s collapse; he never wavered, because he had a long view.

In a nutshell, Reagan had foresight, conviction, faith in a loving God, an understanding that America was not an accident, that our trajectory was meaningful – and that it pointed somewhere good and important.  And what was America?  It was ideals made real by belief in ourselves – the burdens, benefit and benevolence of being American.

His magic was the ability to pivot to the positive, after explaining the stakes.  He restored un-stumbling belief in America’s character and future, the ability to overcome long odds, love our neighbor and be our best.  Asked to look inward, we did – and found the courage that we had forgotten we had.

Other presidents have sounded that note – realizing that America is best when “We, the People” are each at our best.  John Kennedy reminded us – regardless of creed, trade, race, rank or root – to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” 

Abraham Lincoln closed his First Inaugural thus: “We are not enemies but friends. We must not be enemies.  Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

That, of course, is what Reagan believed and communicated, to each of us.  We have it in us to be our best, lift our neighbor, preserve the “bonds of affection.”  If we work to stay grounded in history, ideals and a sense of destiny, we can hear the Liberty Bell and those “mystic chords” sounded in Lincoln’s appeal to our “better angels.”    

That brings me to today.  We Americans are at a time of peril, promise and decision, again.  We can go one way, or the other.  We have slid into reflexive hostility to one another.  We can continue sliding, dividing and diminishing, or we can consciously stop the slide.

How do we stop the slide?  How do we restore “One Nation under God, indivisible,” overcome hostility and allow the “memory to swell” and hearts to be “touched” by what Lincoln and Reagan termed “the better nature of our angels?”  By remembering our remarkable history and resolving to be equal to it.

We can each take responsibility for how we interact with each other, how often we reach to help, forgive, talk quietly, and offer an unsolicited smile.  We can relearn our history, and appreciate it – loving it, being inspired by it. 

One last thing.  This would be an optimal time to see President Trump do as Reagan did, pivot to asking the American People to be all they can be.  Presidents have a unique ability to set and reset tone, from what Theodore Roosevelt once called the “bully pulpit.”

In fairness, President Trump has used the bully pulpit well, to explain his priorities, restore respect for the Constitution, American flag, sanctity of citizenship, inviolate nature of the border, importance of our military, economic liberty, equality of opportunity, and capitalism’s power.  He has challenged longstanding assumptions about bureaucracy, big business, the labor market, tax policy, national and international expectations. 

Reagan did that, albeit with a different style.  Reagan attempted to remake government smaller, reduce regulations, cut taxes, restore individual liberty, rebalance trade, inject moral compass, and resurrect an understanding of America’s proud past. 

But Reagan did more that.  He earnestly asked Americans – as Lincoln and Kennedy had – to refresh expectations of themselves, believe again in each other, and believe firmly in one America.

That is where we are.  President Trump could take a page from Ronald Reagan.  He could consciously shift tone, and offer a vision rich with hope, fidelity to history – and calling out our “better angels.” 

Using the bully pulpit to remake government is hard enough.  Using it to inspire, lift distraught souls, assuage fears, and cause people to think about what is possible, what they can be – is harder. 

Reagan was a master, to profound effect.  President Trump has the opportunity, if he chooses.   This would be a good time.  Reagan lifted the human the spirit, across America.  The secret?  Reagan knew we had it in us, all along.  We still do.  We just need to be asked – to be our best.  The bell still rings – always has.

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Barbara Haring
3 years ago

The big difference is that we used to have purely political differences. Now our differences are philosophical. It’s not a matter of seeing the other person’s point of view and compromising. There is no compromise when one side wants to control all aspects of life in this country and the other wants everyone to have the right to make their own decisions and run their own lives. When one side finds it necessary to run people out of honest businesses because they won’t compromise their personal and Christian principles to appease the evildoers, and wants people censored who don’t and won’t buy into their progressive agendas, including removing children from their parents because they have a way of raising their children that does not follow the progressive dictate. And then there’s the crazy idea that gender is determined by personal preference and not biology. How do you compromise with something as idiotic as that concept? There is no compromising today. The Conservatives have got to win the battle or we will definitely lose the country we love, and being a citizen of the country that’s left won’t be pleasant for any of us.

Judy F
3 years ago

We need to remember our past and not repeat it or try and remove it. We all make mistakes when we are growing. We are a great country with great people who can do anything if they put their minds to it. We are a country governed of by and for the people. The more we give to the gov’t to do for us the more we loose our right to choose our way of life. Stick to what you believe in and don’t be guided by the vague promises of politicians who haven’t gone through trials and the growing that the challenges bring about and are forever changing their minds. Believe in our country it is the best place in the world-not the perfect place-to be.

3 years ago


3 years ago

Reagan had the right idea, “Strong defense, less taxes, smaller government!” Defense is all that is needed from the feds!

3 years ago

I do not agree with the kindness and flattery you give to former Pres. Kennedy. He had a knack for saying things people wanted to hear out of one side of his mouth but slyly and underhandedly making happen what the Dem wanted in reality.

Anna Petrocelli
3 years ago

The two presidents are very much alike as they are different. The difference is mainly that Roland Reagan was not hated” like President Trump. He was hated from the beginning, before he even set foot in the White House. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps the Dems are afraid of him and were afraid of what President Reagan had said when he had me the then young Donald stating something to the effect that when he met Trump, he had felt like “he was shaking the hand of a President.” My words. I love President Trump and I will vote for him again. I just hope he would run for a Third time, if possible.

Darline Brundage
3 years ago

I do think Reagan made one mistake. He closed the mental institutions and mentally ill people end up on the streets or in prison where many of them are killed. Time to find them a place to live again,.

3 years ago

Reagan was a good President, as is Trump. We need another four years of Trump so get out there and vote for him. Every vote counts, so do your part. Reagan and Trump both worked for the benefit of Americans. Democrats/socialists/liberals, RINO’s can’t tell the truth and only work to benefit themselves. VOTE TRUMP.

Walter K Ramsey
3 years ago

I think the Democrat Party has taken on a completely different tone in the last few years. I’m an Independent and in the past found myself voting in local elections for members of both major parties, but not anymore. I cannot vote for anyone of them again giving them greater power.
RIP all of those lost on 9/11/01.

Old Bill
3 years ago

The words of Nikita Khrushchev echo more loudly in 2019 during the Democrat debates than they did when the Soviet Premier slammed his shoe on the Dias at the UN: “We will take America without firing a shot…….We will BURY YOU! We can’t expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism. We do not have to invade the United States, we will destroy you from within.”
(From an address to Western Ambassadors at the Polish embassy in Moscow on November 18, 1956).
This has become the strategy of the DNC wannabes, supported by the Lamestream media. President Reagan oversaw the collapse of the USSR. One wonders what President Trumps legacy will be.

3 years ago

Like Esther to the Jewish nation, Who knows whether President Trump is come to the nation for such a time as this. Who else has his resolve?

Dawn J.
3 years ago

Ronald Reagan was a super president, but on September 11, I think it would be better to remember the fallen heroes of that day 18 years ago.

Carol Shiver
3 years ago

This article is a very good one and one I hope President Trump reads. Though I don’t jump on the “Trump needs to quit Tweeting” wagon, I do think he can do more in the way of what this article says, which is to ‘pivot to the positive’. For example, he could shine the ugly light that is now burning on the homeless in San Francisco and LA under the Democrat-controlled governments, then ‘pull a Reagan’ and talk about how better things COULD be in those cities if we change the status quo and vote for different leadership. That could make a great campaign commercial. In essence, do a ‘Trump’ and then do a ‘Reagan’. A winnable strategy.

Russell Wooten
3 years ago

Great article, the daily news makes me sad, but Robert B. Charles has made me proud in myself and in America again.
I think if Washington DC, the Deep State, the big cities and states, and the fake news were even neutral; we would be talking about Mr. Trump being one of our greatest presidents.

3 years ago

We as God fearing, Law abide Citizens have slept way to long! We have let them drag this Great Country America into the pits. It’s time with Gods help to resurrect this Great USA from the grip of death! And by the way I think President Trump is doing a great job, He’s not one of the good ole boys and girls of Washington! Thank God!

Ron March
3 years ago

Sadly, we live at a time when many citizens have no first-hand knowledge of the sacrifices made by great patriots to protect our freedoms. Many of our institutions of learning are deliberately withholding this history from them. Parents have to stop abrogating this task to these institutions and accept this responsibility before all lost. President Trump’s efforts, and those of his family, more than meet the threshold for heroism. The rest is on our shoulders.

3 years ago

President Trump is a great President and trying to bring this country back together. He could do it if congress would quit acting like spoiled brats and do their job and put America first!

3 years ago
Reply to  Denise

It takes both parties to make this work. Remember, Trump walked out of WH meeting with Pelosi & others this year & said I will not work with you to fund the Wall………… He gives the impression that he will veto everything that is not to his liking & ideas. This country is not made to run with one party running the whole rodeo. One lesson Reagan could teach Trump is how to make deals with other people.

Rick J.
3 years ago

There is a big difference between the nation Reagan inspired and the one President Trump is trying
to inspire. Reagan and a majority of the nation were of the greatest generation. People who were proud of
the country, it’s history. They were givers and not takers. Many of todays population are ignorant of history
and are “takers” demanding more, believing they are owed because they are alive. Sadly, this is not the nation Reagan and the greatest generation knew.

GySgt. Joe Barlow Jr. USMC Ret
3 years ago
Reply to  Rick J.

We need to change our schools, teaching what they teach today will not get us back to the Nation of the greatest generation.

3 years ago

This is what Lincoln wrote and it was in his first inaugural address, says this retired U.S. history teacher and Lincoln devotee:
“The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

What Honest Abe wrote is much more powerful, words really do matter, than what the misquote states.

3 years ago
Reply to  Phillip

The article stars that the quote from President Lincoln was from his 2nd inaugural address.

3 years ago

America once again finds itself at a “Tipping Point.” Do we continue on into the future with the values that our founding fathers bestowed upon us or do we go down a path of harsh government rule, totoliterianism, and the destruction of our constitution and our freedoms? The choice lies with us. We still have the freedom to vote, communicate with our government officials, make our voice be heard and stand boldly for what is right and truthful.
Too many moral, good, God fearing, Patriots in America are doing nothing. Thank God for people like Washington, Reagan, Lincoln, Trump and all of us that still care about our American way of life.
Get involved – do something – say something before we go down a Socialist path to destruction!
The time is now…

3 years ago
Reply to  Dale

Will you share a few suggestions on what people can do…? ?

I often encourage people to:
– pray
– do your homework before you vote
– follow the money
– make sure they embrace your values

Carol Shiver
3 years ago

I would add to encourage people to talk to all the young people in their lives about politics and get a feel for what they believe. Reason being is that these young people are our only hope-too many of them have been taught by leftist teachers and we need to counter what they’re learning in the schools. Far too many young people are voting for Democrats. I fear that in another 10-20 years will see the end of any conservative thought or politician.

3 years ago

Hi Cheryl,

I really feel that Godly / Conservative people need to get more involved in all aspects of their lives and what’s happening around them. Good people every where can do more. If we all increase our involvement, it will produce great results.
+ Strong family values.
+ Actively involved in their church family and related services.
+ Spend time in Gods word and pray. Have a strong support group of like minded people.
Pray against the enemy and what he’s doing to our culture.
+ Get involved in your community. Run for school board, town council, local / state government etc.
+ Write letters to your government officials about concerns you have. Call their offices and voice your opinions.
+ Call / write the White House to give them encouragement and support.
+ Get involved in organizations that stand strong against the insanity of the lefts outrageous agenda.
+ Increase your spiritual discernment and see things / situations / policies / people for what they are – either good or evil.
+ Be strong – Be bold – Be wise.
+ These are just a few ideas.
The biggest thing is to get more involved, don’t sit quietly by as evil people take over our government and destroy our American way of life.

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