THE 40TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA By Appiah Kusi Adomako, Leaders Of Tomorrow Foundation, Kumasi-Ghana
I was just three years old when Ronald Wilson Reagan beat the incumbent James Earl Carter to make a triumphant entry to the White House. From the next eight years when he was the president of the greatest country in the human history I was little more naïve when it comes to international politics. However my interest in world affairs soared up after Reagan exit from power. My personal reflection about the life of a former president comes from books, biographies, movies and documentaries that I have stuffed myself on with on Reaganmattters.
Reagan's leadership stemmed from when he was the president of the students body of Eureka College in Illinois. Reagan went to Hollywood and began an acting career that spanned more than 25 years. He played in more than 50 films, including Knute Rockne-All American (1940), King's Row (1942), and Bedtime for Bonzo (1951)
Reagan taste of public life commenced when he became the governor of the US populous state of California. As a conservative governor of California he initiated reforms at the state of California. The reform reduced the number of people receiving state aid, while increasing the benefits for those who remained eligible. By 1973 budget surpluses enabled Reagan to begin tax rebates that returned almost six billion dollars to taxpayers.
As governor, Reagan became one of several widely known conservative politicians who wanted to restrict government involvement in the economy and society. In 1968, during his first term as governor, he entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination but lost to Richard M. Nixon.
The road to US presidency is wide and meandering path with many setbacks. In November 1979 Reagan announced his bid to contest for the 1980 general elections. When he the election with the highest votes ever in any US presidential election, he restored the influence of the presidency to what it had essentially been in the 1950s and early 1960s. He also invigorated the Republican Party, which had been under a cloud since the Watergate scandal.
A charming, fatherly personality with clear ideas about what he wanted to do as president, Reagan re-established a measure of public trust and confidence in the White House. At the start of his term the worst recession since the Great Depression called into question Reagan's policy of lower taxes and higher defence spending. It was his regimes that the US had a largest peace time military build up.
The presidency of Reagan is synonymous with many records. Regan was the oldest president ever to be elected. The first president to have won the largest number of votes in any US presidential election. It was his term time of office when the zero-year myth on US president was broken. For more than hundred years prior the to coming of Reagan as the president of the US any president whose year of election ends with zero, say 1960 or 1920, that president will die in office. If the assassination attempt on March 30, 1981, by an unstable drifter named John W. Hinckley had succeeded then the zero year, then no president would have wished to be elected in years ending with zero. For instance Abraham Lincoln was elected on 1860 and assassinated in 1865. President James A Garfield was elected on 1880 and was killed in the following year. President William McKinley was elected on 1900 and was assassinated on 1901. Franklin D. Roosevelt on 1920 and died in office in 1945. Finally President Kennedy was elected on 1960 and was assassinated on 1963. So Regan was the first president in hundred years to have narrowly escaped the zero year curse.
He was the first president to have nominated a woman Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to serve on the Supreme Court.
America and the rest of the western world will forever remember Reagan on his conservative anti-communism stand. In America people remember Reagan for his Reaganomics. As a great communicator who was always found on the television he also brought in a new style of presidential leadership, downgrading the role of the president as an administrator and increasing the importance of communication via national news media. He was the oldest person ever to serve as president.
At the 1996 Republican National Convention, Reagan could not make a physical presence there as results of Alzheimer's disease, a degenerative disease of the brain. I remember a video footage of Nancy Reagan telling the telling the story of Reagan.
The death of Reagan is not only a lost to America but a lost to the world. We in Ghana share with great pain. The words of William Shakespeare has always become true that:
All the world's a stage
And all the men and women are merely players
They have their exits and their entrances
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
At first the infants mewling and puking in the nurses arm.
Then the whining school boy with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like nail
Unwilling to go to school........
Today as we all mourn the death of a great leader, we console ourselves with the words from slain civil rights leader of the United States Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr that death is not a period that ends the great sentence of life, but a comma that punctuates it to a more lofty significance. Again and again death is not a blind alley that leads the human race into a state of nothingness, but an open door which leads man to a into an eternal life. The grave is too small to hold the spirit of Reagan.
The bible also reminds us that we shall also rise up to meet God in his glory.
May the soul of Ronald Wilson Reagan rest in perfect peace.
Appiah Kusi Adomako is a freelance writer, an educationist and freelance moralist. He also works with an NGO called -LEADERS OF TOMORROW as an administrator. He can be contacted on Leaders of Tomorrow Foundation, P.O. BOX. KS 13640. Kumasi-Ghana, West Africa. Email: [email protected] . www.interconection.org/lotfound
Leaders of Tomorrow Foundation P.O. BOX KS.13640 Kumasi-Ashanti Ghana-West Africa www.interconnection.org/lotfound e-mail:[email protected] Tel:+233-27-740-2467