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February 2, 2011

I don’t take the name “Reagan” lightly.

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“History is a ribbon, always unfurling. History is a journey. And as we continue our journey, we think of those who traveled before us. We stand again at the steps of this symbol of our democracy — well, we would have been standing at the steps if it hadn’t gotten so cold. Now we’re standing inside this symbol of our democracy, and we see and hear again the echoes of our past: a general falls to his knees in the hard snow of Valley Forge; a lonely President paces the darkened halls and powers — ponders his struggle to preserve the Union; the men of the Alamo call out encouragement to each other; a settler pushes west and sings a song, and the song echoes out forever and fills the unknowing air.

It is the American sound.

It is hopeful, big-hearted, idealistic, daring, decent, and fair. That’s our heritage; that’s our song. We sing it still.

For all our problems, our differences, we are together as of old.

We raise our voices to the God who is the author of this most tender music. And may He continue to hold us close as we fill the world with our sound in unity, affection, and love — one people under God, dedicated to the dream of freedom that He has placed in the human heart, called upon now to pass that dream on to a waiting and a hopeful world.

God bless you, and may God bless America.”

Ronald Reagan, second inaugural address

Some gasped, some tittered, and some guffawed, when a young man opened the door and announced, “Reagan has been shot!”  I remember the  breath escaping mylungs and the sinews in my body turning to steel.  I was silent, and regarded, through a disassociative veil, the peals of laughter that rang through the classroom.  The glib contempt that skulked the aisles in Mr. Adams’  Theater History class shocked me.  The President of the United States has been assassinated and these guys think it’s funny.  Have they no idea of the danger that this kind of national chaos presents?  Don’t they realize that there are enemy superpowers that will celebrate the death of  President Reagan? I was sad, near grief, but reflective.  Even as a sophomore in a Liberal Arts college, studying theater, I understood that the assassination of a President, even a hated one, in a time of peak nuclear tensions was cause for great alarm.

Of course I did not know until several minutes later that Ronald Reagan was not dead. The same student again poked his head in the room and proclaimed, “He’s not dead, he’s only been shot.”  Still, the Liberal boobs in the room inserted their vapid commentary; “Too bad,” “He’s so old maybe he’ll die anyway,” “Reagan sucks!”  Though speechless I boiled with the thought “you idiots.”  I stand by that judgment to this day.  Those collegiate, liberal, theater students, on that date, March 30 ,1981, were imbeciles.   If perchance they’ve put on some years, enlarged their frontal cortexes, and become sensible Conservatives, then perhaps I will forgive.

That memory takes me back to another, earlier recollection; my very first vote.  Less than a decade earlier the voting age had been lowered to 18.  I remember kneeling next to my dorm bed in October of 1980 and unfolding the absentee ballot.  I had anticipated this moment and I savored penciling in the oval next to Ronald Reagan’s name.  I scarcely remember who was down ballot from him, but there was a peace and conviction that my vote was unequivocally right.  I was a student of the arts, and a campy style sometimes belied my Conservative heart.  During those formative years, when nuclear holocaust backlit the political landscape, and flashes of light, mushroom clouds, and sudden extinction stalked the dreams of many, I came to laud the man who represented the strength and goodness of the United States of America, “the last, best hope of man on earth.”

Some say the “Reagan Revolution” began on October 27, 1964, when Ronald Reagan gave a speech in Texas on behalf of Barry Goldwater, entitled “A Time for Choosing.”  The Reagan Revolution was the Conservative Revolution in American. Thinkers such as Edmund Burke, had been shaping Conservative philosophy for centuries.  But it was Goldwater, Reagan, William F. Buckley, and others who ignited the fire of the Conservative revolution.  Conservatism was not new, but it was pushing its way into the forefront of American politics out of necessity.  Simple left/right, Democrat/Republican politics were no longer sufficient to hold together the fabric of meritorious liberty.  As government became increasingly massive and unattached to the Constitution, and as individuals became estranged from God and His commandments, a new political sensibility was needed; one that filled moral voids and embraced the rule of law over the passions of men. Conservatism became a critical doctrine in a culture where religious institutions were losing their importance and moral ambiguity abounded.  As the population sought equilibrium in a time of topsy-turvy values and the rejection of traditional norms, Conservatism was the secular voice through which fairness, freedom, equal rights, human agency, self-sufficiency, self-governance, limited government, and all righteous tenets were reasserted.  Ronald Reagan, and the voice he gave to Conservative principles, were made for a time of political and spiritual upheaval such as 1964.

I took the name “ReaganGirl” at the suggestion of a friend.  I had published a picture on a social networking site of me wearing a “Reagan for President” T-shirt.  The friend thought I would make a nice counterpoint to “ObamaGirl”, the YouTube sensation of 2008.  Although I failed to come up with an appropriate “I’ve got a crush on Reagan,” ditty, I did devise for myself an outlet in the form of an opinion blog. made sense, and the domain name was available, so I took it.  It is a serious undertaking, however, to take upon oneself the name of another.  Wives take the names of their husbands as a gesture of life-changing devotion. Christians take upon themselves the name of the Savior, Jesus Christ.  I take upon myself the name of Christ as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; a Mormon.  I take the name of Ronald Reagan as an enthusiast, and to establish a context for my opinions on this blog.  It is no small responsibility, nor honor.  I am a Christian in the most ardent sense,  Jesus Christ and His Gospel are central to my faith as well as the underpinnings of my secular world view.  In truth, I have no wholly secular estimation of anything.  To me, one who has taken the name of her God, all things are one, woven together in a tapestry of physical, metaphysical, temporal, and eternal experience.   I am also a student of Ronald Reagan, and an admirer.  And in taking the name of Reagan, I align myself to his leadership, his character, and his humanity.

It is a testament to the goodness and greatness of America and the man who, in the 20th century, best embodied the genius of “We The People”, that many countries, other than the United States, are commemorating Ronald Reagan’s centenniel.  There are celebrations planned throughout Europe well into the summer of 2011.  Many credit Reagan as being the president who saved the United States from post-Carter economic disaster.  Some applaud him as the president who ended the Cold War with firing nary a shot.  And, indeed, he is both.  But Ronald Reagan’s true significance lies in his unapologetic belief in God, and that America is a country of  Divine inception and destiny, that all people are Children of God; born free that they may live free, and that liberty is worth the greatest price.  The power of the Reagan legacy lies in its synthesis of faith, history, righteousness, optimism, humor, determination, sacrifice and the love of liberty.  That is why I take upon myself the name of Reagan.  His speeches, comments, asides, and jokes have been closely chronicled.  People love to read Reagan because he spoke the truth, about himself, about the world, about history; the good and the bad, and about his, and our, dependence upon a Power greater than man, weapons, superpowers, or America.  I will let his words speak for him.

Ronald Reagan was bold in his assertion that religion and God are essential to a free nation.

“If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

“Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.”

“Without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure.”

“We are never defeated unless we give up on God.”

He understood deeply the blood lineage of a liberated people, and of how generations must be linked together in the commitment to remain free.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

“Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: ‘We the people.’ ‘We the people’ tell the government what to do, it doesn’t tell us. ‘We the people’ are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which ‘We the people’ tell the government what it is allowed to do. ‘We the people’ are free. This belief has been the underlying basis for everything I’ve tried to do these past eight years.”

His humor was mostly self-effacing, but always had big government in the crosshairs.

“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

“Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”

He was, at his core, humble, lovable, gracious and kind.

“Live Simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.”

Nuff said.

Gorbachev praises Reagan as a great leader and partner in peace

Michael Reagan: My dad’s principles can revive the U.S.

NRO Reagan Reclaimed: The real man and the real legacy

Deroy Murdock: Reagan’s stature rises with the times

Margaret Thatcher: Reagan’s Leadership

The differences between Reagan and Obama

Ronald Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

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Ronald Reagan’s farewell address

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Ronald Reagan speaks out against socialized medicine

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Ronald Reagan without a teleprompter.  Reagan/Carter debate

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Kelly Sloan: Why We Miss Reagan

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marjorie Haun, Marjorie Haun. Marjorie Haun said: Why I love Ronald Reagan Safe with the Name of Ronald Reagan […]

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