Ronald “Dutch” Reagan was born February 6th, 1911. He was raised mostly in small Illinois towns with his father, an Irish American itinerate shoe salesman and his mother, a strong and religious Scottish American whose influence was a deciding factor in his upbringing.
From humble beginnings he ascended to greatness. He worked his way through college, graduated without honors, and began a career as a radio sportscaster. Eventually he found his way to Hollywood and stumbled onto an acting career. That lead to the beginnings of his political career, being elected 6 times as President of the Screen Actors Guild. He changed political parties in 1962, moving his allegiance from the Democrats to the Republican Party, famously saying “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, they left me.”
His foray into National Politics started with his famous campaign speech for Barry Goldwater, “A Time for Choosing”, which typified his belief system throughout the rest of his life. “ The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing … You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream—the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order—or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.”
From there he became a 2-term California Governor, and then a 2-term President. As President, and against the advice of his adversaries in the Democratic Party, he cut taxes, re-invigorated a stagnant post Jimmy Carter economy, rebuilt the military, and won the Cold War with the Soviet Union, eventually dismantling it using its own arcane policies against itself.
This remarkable man truly did live the American Dream, and through the strength of his character and his unyielding drive to govern with his ideals, all of us are better for it!
Ronald Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004)