(sent out 2004)
“The man himself would not emerge, as he used to do, effortlessly scattering the media jackals like a lion, the petty snipes falling harmlessly around him, and leaving them to ponder his “Teflon”. The jackals were safer now. He was gone.”
I was shocked at how sad it was. The Gipper’s passing. Ronald Reagan passed heavenward on June fifth. It was the same day we introduced the expanded Reagan Wing website and I’m convinced that was Providential. But it hit me hard.
My own beloved father died a couple years ago and it didn’t hit me with the same impact. I really had to ask myself why this did.
Most of the time when a celebrity dies it seems to me like a non-event. Like the passing of a famous brand name, like Hydrox cookies. I know I didn’t know David Brinkley or Johnny Cash no matter how much it seems like I did or how much time I spent in our special one-way relationship of media star to spectator. Certainly they didn’t know me. Every great moment I shared with Katherine Hepburn can be replayed, if necessary, on DVD.
What was so different about Ronald Reagan?
I remember the speeches. Good stuff, well delivered. A Reagan address was an event you made plans around. If the phone rang during a Reagan speech you first thought, “What idiot could this be?” and, a second later, “There must be an emergency!” A Reagan address was a moment of national catharsis.
He was a man deeply in touch with the great themes of American morality and could draw on the best of what we were as from wells of spiritual power. The jackals of the media and the rest of the Left were always left standing flat-footed in his wake because these were the very wells they daily labored to plug.
Before he had to face Reagan in presidential debates in 1980 they should have given Jimmy Carter last rites because his administration was as good as dead. When I heard Barbara Walters’ “eulogy” of left-handed compliments and snipping slanderous implications I knew she was only chipping at his memory. The man himself would not emerge, as he used to do, effortlessly scattering the media jackals like a lion, the petty snipes falling harmlessly around him, and leaving them to ponder his “Teflon”. The jackals were safer now. He was gone. Was that why it hit me so hard?
Republican Party liberals had begun to feel safer as soon as he left office. I mean that gaggle of Big Money operatives that had largely coalesced around Nelson Rockefeller and later George the First when he fought Reagan for the nomination as an openly pro-abortion candidate and called the Free Enterprise Reagan stood for “Voodoo” economics. They had ruled Washington State in Reagan’s name but while nervously looking over their shoulders lest their policies be exposed by a White House directive. Even now, as they work within our Party to reverse all he stood for, they still will not dare to openly criticize his memory. They fell all over themselves to pose at his memorial. Such was the stature of that great President. Did I mourn because they secretly rejoiced?
I did not, at first, realize the purpose in my mourning.
For eight years I had kept pinching myself that a real conservative actually was President of the United States. For there was never any question he was genuine. His successors as Republican Party Presidential nominees, the winners, the losers, – all of them, in fact, carried conservative themes (like luggage), but mixed them on the same loading platform among packages stuffed with Liberalism Lite (less filling, sounds great). When the Bushes said “kinder,” “gentler,” and “compassionate” what they actually meant, it is now clear, was “very expensive” and “seriously expanding the role of government.” And Bob Dole campaigned on an unmistakable erosion of the Tenth Amendment as his greatest achievement. Reagan was the opposite. Even when he erred in policy, we could trust his intentions. In 1982, He agreed with the Democrat Congress to raise taxes, but only because he had acquired their promise to make $3 of spending cuts for every $1 of tax increase. That he believed them is testimony to an optimism and faith in the good will of Americans that far exceeds my own. Of course he never got one penny of their promise. And even when they lied about this in public he never became bitter or remonstrative (like I did). He was full of optimism, positive thinking and hope for the future. But he left the scene 10 years ago, why was I so affected?
They are History. On the home front, Ronald Reagan literally saved the American economy. Had we continued on the tax-and-destroy road we were traveling, mapped out by the Democrats, conceded by the liberal Republicans, we would probably have reached the point of no return by the mid eighties. Colossal tax rates, runaway inflation, gargantuan interest rates and Carter’s resultant economic “malaise” were leading us to the kind of dead-end that now faces the European Socialists. Reagan turned us 180º and gave us the greatest peacetime expansion of an economy that history had ever known… by giving people their money back. Even successful people. We are only strong now because of what he did then.
Nevertheless, an even greater accomplishment was the destruction of the Soviet Empire. From the end of World War II to 1980 the Evil Empire expanded without pausing. On average, more than a nation a year fell to the most insidious tyranny the world has ever known. Invading internally, Communists brought down nations through literal and ideological infiltration, economic sabotage, extortion, murder, terrorism, outright military conquest, and they proceeded with a constant, worldwide barrage of lies, re-writing their own, and their opponents’ history as they went. (Some of you younger readers will think I’m accusing them of being Liberals.) Once fallen, these states processed dissidents like a slaughterhouse, utilizing every medieval (and later) torture known along the way. The murders of the Communists dwarf those of Hitler. Conservative estimates range to well over 60 million, world wide. RONALD REAGAN STOPPED THEM COLD. From the day of his inauguration they never took another inch of ground. He rebuilt our military. He supported the resistance movements, worldwide, that fought the Soviets directly. He quit following the path of disarmament and appeasement that has possessed the minds of liberals, our State Department, the whole of the Democrat Party and the Dominant Media Culture. Again, he turned 180º and confronted where we had been capitulating, challenged where we had acquiesced, and won where we had been losing. A chain reaction began with Ronald Reagan that brought the Soviet system to its knees and freed untold millions to new hope. But these achievements were history long ago. They did not go away with his passing. What made my chest ache?
I now know it was a call to follow. Multitudes heard this call.
He had faded, after all, like my father. Reagan with Alzheimer’s, my father with Parkinson’s. When Dad finally crossed the portal he had become very gradually much less of himself than the man I had always known. His wit and powers of analysis greatly diminished. The gradual nature of the decline made the final loss of my father much easier. Ronald Reagan, though, has really been missing from our lives since 1993. We should be used to it, shouldn’t we? And in both cases, for the Christian, there is no doubt that we will see them again. They are now, literally, sharing together what our President gave us as a vision in 1984, the Shining City on a Hill. We will go there to them though they will never come hither again. Shouldn’t knowing this have eased my grief?
This was more than the passing of a celebrity. This was more than a man who had touched us, from afar. This was more than the father of the Reagan Wing of the Republican Party.
Throughout Ronald Reagan’s Presidency he was blessed, and our nation was blessed with good fortune. The forces that gathered to restore our economy, our financial institutions and enact legislation despite the dominance of Democrats in Congress were more than the mechanistic operation of any economic or political science. The forces that converged to defeat the horrid giant of Atheist Tyranny went beyond anything Ronald Reagan did directly. Throughout his career we can see the powerful hand of God. It rested on Mr. Reagan in his unassuming humility and moved mountains before him, disarming his enemies. This force was not the result of his talent or genius, but his obedience to what he knew to be right. And I felt, in some unexplainable and unexpected way, when I heard the news, that force had withdrawn from us.
Throughout my life I never shed tears at the death of a celebrity. Until Now.
The Reagan Wing Call
There are many great men, known and unknown, in the history of our nation, but only three Presidents who rise, despite their humanity, to a particular level of greatness. Washington took a diseased and impoverished army and defeated the greatest military force of his day to found the United States; Lincoln protected and saved that Union through a life-threatening kind of divisiveness and freed its slaves; Reagan saved our nation’s freedom and, through it, that of the entire world for a time, and each of these great men relied, unequivocally, on the power of God. Reagan had spent a lifetime learning to walk in that reliance.
Will we see another like him in our lifetimes? Don’t count on it.
Instead, we remain behind, though assailed by the insidious force of pervasive perversion and the power of lies.
There is no greater honor we can do to the memory of the great Ronald Reagan than to pick up his sword where he fell, to continue to wield it in the fight for the principles he stood for.
To renew our Party and our nation.
To return to the faith that is the foundation of our freedom.
Where Reagan was one we will be many.
This is the call of the Reagan Wing of the Republican Party
It is the intervention of the Almighty in the affairs of our Nation upon which we must now depend.
Written by Doug Parris June 2004