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Lance T. Izumi - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]

Lance 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]

On Remembering Ronald Reagan
The Great Idealist…
[Lance T. Izumi] 6/18/04

As America mourns the passing of Ronald Reagan, I feel an intense sense of personal 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 vision.

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.”

Thank you Mr. Reagan, I will miss you dearly. CRO

This column was originally a commentary on KQED radio.

copyright 2004 Pacific Research Institute



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