This weekend, we celebrate the 100th birthday of the personfication of America itself, Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan’s prevailing words, unique charm and true leadership filled America with a hope that transcended politics and ideology.
I celebrate Reagan’s birthday for the America we are because of him. Great leaders -- both famous and infamous – build upon the continuing foundation of our nation’s structure. They build it strong and well or sloppy and dangerous. Reagan epitomized a structure of strength well before and during and his Presidency.
Reagan was the international American identity during a particular time when freedom desperately needed a voice -- a voice still very much needed today.
That voice resonated among schoolchildren like me, just beginning to dream, with families in small towns around kitchen tables, and with those future movers and shakers in the city. He charmed opponents, dominated debates and humbly commanded the stage, the screen, the podium. He earned the respect of other nations and played a priceless lead role in crushing Communism to end the Cold War.
His awe-inspiring words paired with common sense answers to America’s social, economic and international issues made our nation better. Though he had the most serious of jobs, Reagan never lost his sense of humor. He could tackle any issue with his trademark wit and he proved that people can lead – and lead well – with humor.
Though Reagan did not lower our nation’s debt, he was able to make the world freer and greatly expanded our economy in valuable ways. He left us with a good example and something to remember when we faced hard economic times, like we do today.
Reagan accomplished two tax overhauls and championed the deregulation that led to the most prosperous economic increases we had seen since WWII. He despised government control of our lives and served America to see that it did not do so.
Speaking at CPAC in 1987, Reagan said, “Our game plan is still the best one in town. The notion that government controls, central planning, and bureaucracy can provide cost-free prosperity has now come and gone.”
It is time to regain that attitude and put the power back in the hands of the people, just where Reagan believed it should be.
Perhaps our birthday gift to him and the nation he loved – is to tackle the debt problem that eluded him, so that we can finally realize again the prosperity that this great nation is capable of under a plain-meaning adherence to our Constitution.
Happy Birthday, Mr. President.
Congressman Rokita represents Indiana's 4th congressional district.