Lance T. Izumi - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research
Izumi is Director of Education Studies for the Pacific
Research Institute and
Senior Fellow in California Studies. He is a leading expert in
education policy and the author of several major PRI studies.
[go to Izumi index]
Remembering Ronald Reagan
The Great Idealist…
[Lance T. Izumi] 6/18/04
mourns the passing of Ronald Reagan, I feel an intense sense
loss. Many people will remember our nation’s
40th president as a great leader and the Great Communicator.
But for me, he will always be the Great Idealist, the person
who inspired me as a young man with his clear philosophy and
The positions taken by many politicians seem not to be part
of any overarching belief system, but designed to please needed
constituencies. Ronald Reagan was different. The positions he
took, such as opposing communism, were the natural products of
his enduring belief in freedom and individual liberty.
It was the substance of his message, not just the way he delivered
it, that inspired a young Japanese-American high school student
from a small town in Southern California to fight for the ideals
he so eloquently put forth.
When Ronald Reagan
was first elected president in 1980, I felt a great sense of
hope and anticipation. I eventually had the
privilege of serving in President Reagan’s administration
as a speechwriter for then-Attorney General Edwin Meese. As part
of that administration you really felt that you were part of
team with a historic mission informed by the president’s
ideals. President Reagan scored great successes by implementing
his ideals. Occasionally he came up short, such as failing to
shrink government spending, but he always had the honesty to
admit that his actions failed to meet his ideals.
In 1989, I received
a letter from President Reagan thanking me for serving in his
administration. What’s interesting
about this letter is that it doesn’t lay out the usual
laundry list of programmatic achievements. Instead, he talks
about the ideas he brought to Washington and how those ideas
changed America. At the end, he says: “The American dream
of liberty and justice for all is alive and well. So too is the
dream that we shall one day see all humanity partaking of the
blessings of freedom.”
Mr. Reagan, I will miss you dearly. CRO
This column was originally a commentary on KQED radio.
2004 Pacific Research Institute