If you've followed my rants/postings you know that Ronald Reagan is a hero of mine. My local congressmen is Russ Bogh who writes a weekly letter to those willing to listen. Representive Bogh sent me this today and I found it worthy enough to reproduce in full here. This is the first time I've seen the Mark Twain quote used by Mr. Reagan below.
President Ronald Reagan would have celebrated his 95th birthday Monday. The “Great Communicator” restored pride in our nation, respect for our military, and opened the windows of freedom for millions of people shuttered behind oppressive regimes across Eastern Europe. Reagan’s ability to eloquently touch the American psyche helped this nation survive the horrors of the shuttle exploding before its eyes. No wonder “the Gipper” is one of the most analyzed presidents, with 960 books (and counting) written on his life, his political strategy, his conservative philosophy, and anything else of interest.
I like the Reagan who governed over a California that was mired in conflict and debt when he first took office in 1967. He reminded residents in his inaugural address that “the deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principle upon which it was founded. … Government is the people’s business, and every man, woman and child becomes a shareholder with the first penny of tax paid.” He went on to challenge: “The path we will chart is not an easy one. It demands much of those chosen to govern, but also from those who did the choosing. And let there be no mistake about this: we have come to a crossroad – a time of decision – and the path we follow turns away from any idea that government and those who serve it are omnipotent. It is a path impossible to follow unless we have faith in the collective wisdom and genius of the people. Along with path government will lead but not rule, listen but not lecture. It is the path of a Creative Society.”
This trust in the people is a hallmark of Reagan. It was reaffirmed when Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor. Four years later, Gov. Reagan returned to his theme: “… four years ago, I asked that we set foot on a path leading toward a Creative Society. We have traveled that road since and with all my heart I believe we should continue. It turns away from increasing reliance on government and leads toward renewed respect for – and greater reliance on – the collective genius and common sense of the people. It is not always an easy path because, by design, it demands as much from those who elect, as it does from those who are governed. This is of course the very reason it is a good road to follow. When those who are governed do too little, those who govern can – and often will – do too much.”
The members of the Legislature would be wise to study Ronald Reagan and embrace his trust in the Creative Society. This state ran into fiscal trouble when its elected leaders tried to be everything to everybody. They stopped believing in the people and started believing in too much of their rhetoric and promises. Instead of offering hope, they offered to fix whatever any special interest group lobbied to change.
Gov. Reagan knew California. His wisdom is as timely today as it was in 1971: “If all 20 million of us wanted to live elsewhere, we would find 100 people willing to trade places with each one of us. Those who whine of a sick society aren’t talking about us. Our young people seek a cause in which they can invest their idealism, their youth and their strength. And we have such a cause. But we must prove to them our own faith and belief, that ours is the most innovative state in the union; that we have a history of accepting change – indeed of making change happen. For, as Mark Twain once said, ‘The easy and slothful didn’t come to California. They stayed home.’”
Happy birthday, Mr. Reagan. Thank you for all you have done for our state and our nation.
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