President Reagan and his legacy usually stirs up passion. For conservatives, he is the hero they love to lift up. I guarantee you at the upcoming GOP convention, whoever ends up being the candidate, will quote or try to emulate Reagan in some way. Admirers often remember Reagan for returning a sense of pride in our nation and overall the positive feel the nation had in the 1980s. For liberals Reagan also lifts up passion, but in the opposite direction. They look back and see the economic impact of some of his policies, the deregulation that went on, and the sides he chose in Latin America and they do not look at him kindly. But liberals are a minority in our country and most of the population remembers him in a positive way.
None of the above though is what inspires me to uplift President Reagan. Little talked about, or even known by many in our population, the Cold War in the 1980s was a very dangerous time in the history of humankind. While we saw the Soviet Union as a threat, they increasingly thought we were about to attack them. And if a war had broken out between the two sides the consequences would have been horrific.
Reagan increasingly recognized this danger during his presidency and even with the hawks on his administration regularly encouraging confrontation with the Soviets, Reagan went in another direction. The president made it his personal mission to achieve “a world free of nuclear weapons,” which he regarded as “totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization.” And under his leadership he signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces agreement which eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons. He also helped put in motion the Strategic Arms Reductions Talks which came to fruition under his successor’s presidency.
A decade before it was said, “only Nixon could go to China.” Perhaps only Reagan, the old Cold Warrior, was the only one who could have implemented the change that needed to happen.
President Reagan is seldom lifted up as a peacemaker, but I think he should be. If a different leader had been in office, we might be sitting in a ruined world, if we’d be here at all.
I doubt anyone ever reading this blog will ever be in the White House but we all have a chance to be peacemakers and make a difference. And sometimes, while others may think we’d be the last person to step in, we might be the very person God has in mind to reconcile two opposing sides.
Jesus said the peacemakers shall see God. Let’s all strive to do so.
Until next time,