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The case for a Reagan dime
By Bruce Walker
The death of President Reagan, the greatest person in the last fifty years except for Alexander Solzhenitsyn, reminds us of many things. His death reminds us that wisdom is not superficial complexity. His death reminds us that marriages based upon love transcend calamity. His death reminds us that global wars can be won with little blood if the champion of freedom has will, candor and compassion.
Inevitably, Leftists consider FDR a "great president." Reagan was much greater in every way. As we remember Reagan, let us now begin to put his genuine greatness - second only, perhaps, to George Washington, in American history - into perspective. The pigmy Left will nip at his toenails until he his mortal body is dust. Conservatives and other normal people should simply thank God for Reagan.
Both Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan took office in the middle of terrible economic problems. Reagan had America in the middle of the longest period of economic growth in its history when he ran for reelection. FDR had America in an even deeper Depression when he ran for reelection in 1936.
Ronald Reagan, whose absence of any prejudice or bigotry was legendary, appointed Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman, to the Supreme Court. He groomed brilliant black people like Alan Keyes and Colin Powell into leadership roles, rather than appointing black flacks and hacks.
Franklin Roosevelt did appoint the first woman to the cabinet, but his record on civil rights was abominable. He appointed Tom Clark, who had joined the Ku Klux Klan, to be Attorney General of the United States. He appointed Hugo Black, who had also joined the Ku Klux Klan, to the United States Supreme Court. His first running mate, Nance Garner, hailed from a town in which blacks were not even allowed to live. How bad was FDR on civil rights? Consider that even the black Marxist W.E.B. Dubois did not vote for FDR after the 1932 election.
Prosperity and civil liberties were both slam dunks: Reagan was vastly superior to Roosevelt. What about the really big question both men faced? What about the evil empires each man faced and the question of war and of peace, of freedom and of tyranny, of safety and of democide?
Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office and Adolph Hitler took office at almost the same time. FDR had overwhelming majorities in Congress, and those majorities would grow. Moreover, FDR thoroughly grasped how to use radio and film. As many people have noted, FDR, like Ronald Reagan, was a "Great Communicator." So what did he communicate? Not much.
FDR had six and a half years from his inauguration to stop the Second World War, prevent the Holocaust, and bring hope and freedom to Europe and the Orient. He commanded almost as a dictator the most powerful economy on the planet. He had enormous leverage over England and France, because of their heavy war debts. He also was initially viewed favorably by both Hitler and Mussolini. He had his so-called "Brain Trust" to advise him. How does FDR stack up against Ronald Reagan in confronting global evil? Not well at all.
Franklin Roosevelt confronted an enemy which scarcely had the power to harm a single inch of American territory, while the Gipper defeated an enemy with the power to destroy mankind in a matter of minutes or to confront the American Navy with a reasonable prospect of success or to overrun Western Europe in a few days.
The Gipper defeated an enemy who was the darling of the Left. He defeated an enemy which was constantly being compared as morally equivalent to the United States, despite the fact long before the Holocaust, this enemy instructed Rudolph Hess, during his visit to the Soviet Union, how to cram families into box cars and how to exterminate millions of human beings.
Franklin Roosevelt defeated an enemy who was the demon of the Left, though Nazism itself was pure Leftism, and whom the moguls of Hollywood rightly portrayed as savage brutes with bad intentions for humanity. There were many films before the Second World War began which told America in stark terms how bad the Nazis were. Other than Red Dawn, were there any films from Hollywood which showed the evil of the Soviet empire?
The Gipper defeated an enemy who had a militant, ugly army of Storm Troopers operating within America, their swastikas morphed into other icons of the radical Leftism which is Nazism, Marxism, Fascism and other movements based upon hate. He did so without arresting these people or suspending their civil rights.
Franklin Roosevelt interned Italians, Japanese and German citizens because of their ancestry. He funding blatant propaganda funded with tax dollars. His Democrat Congress created the House Committee on Un-American Activities to investigate pro-Nazi and pro-Fascist movements in America. He trampled upon our liberties, rather than persuade us, about the evil of Nazism.
The Gipper defeated an enemy who had so demoralized its geographically logical victims that West Germany, Italy, France, Holland and Belgium had to be begged by America to allow us to defend them. Other nations, like Sweden and India, were vicious and unfair critics of America even though they, too, would be consumed by the Russian Bear. The first liberation of people from Communism, Grenada, was by order of President Reagan. No more peoples or lands fell to Communism while he was president.
Franklin Roosevelt was begged by Europeans and Chinese to help them stop Nazism, Japanese Imperialism, Soviet aggression and Fascism. He did not need to persuade them of the evils they confronted or beg them to be allowed to help them. Franklin Roosevelt allowed Germany to occupy the Rhineland, to annex Austria, to acquire the Sudetenland, to grab Bohemia and Moravia and finally to incorporate Memel into the Reich, all by steel fisted diplomacy from an enemy which had a military which could barely harm a single inch of American soil.
The Gipper came into office at a time when the Gulag was still very much alive. Mothers and children were still being sent to the Gulag, where the mortality rate for children was fifty percent per year. The blood of the Killing Fields, the genocide that continued unchecked during the morally numb years of Carter, was still fresh and warm.
But Reagan championed the cause of enslaved people without hesitation or qualification. He went to Berlin, not to empathize as JFK did, but to demand in the name of humanity that the new, improved Communist tear down the Wall. He armed the Afghans to fight against a Red Army which was systematically exterminating the Afghan people. Men like Eichman and Yamashita cringed when Ronald Reagan was president.
What about FDR? Do we assume that the millions murdered by Stalin were "unpersons" as many historians have done? Did FDR ever raise even a peep of protest about these starved, tortured and killed mothers and children? Did he even know about this holocaust? If so, he had a funny way of demonstrating that knowledge: FDR opened diplomatic relations with a government that committed a holocaust while it was committing that holocaust.
The Final Solution to the Gipsy Question was constructed in 1938, four years before its infamous Jewish parallel, and before the Second World War in Europe began. Where, exactly, was Franklin Roosevelt when this happened?
Between September 1939 and June 1941, one and one half million Polish mothers, babies, old people and fathers were crammed into airless, dark, filthy cattle cars and transported to the Gulag camps deep in the heart of Siberia. Did FDR ever whisper "That is evil"?
Ronald Reagan was not just a great president, but a great moral force in our times. Franklin Roosevelt was a nebish, a frat brat, a Clinton. Why not now recognize these two paramount facts? Why not a Reagan dime?
Bruce Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.
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