Two years ago on this date, Ronald Reagan passed away. Easily the greatest, most important U.S. president of my lifetime, Ronald Reagan changed the world as well as American life in several ways. Historians credit him with being the person primarily responsbile for Western victory in the Cold War (though Reagan himself surely would claim that communism was doomed from its inception) as well as being the onlt president since FDR to have a lasting impact on the American economy (Reagan favored "supply side" theory, which helped spur amazing economic growth during difficult world times; his economic policies are essentailly still the dominant force in the U.S. economy).
More importantly, Reagan was a model for leadership. How do you lead? Look at how Ronald Reagan did things. This has made him a hero for many in my generation. For him, leadership began with an optimistic attitude. In an age of cynicism and pessimism, this can make a huge difference. Be positive! Simple...yet very profound.
I'll include here some quotes from the eminently quotable Ronald Reagan...
"How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin."
"All great change in America begins at the dinner table."
"I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born."
"Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"
"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement."
"Life is one grand, sweet song...so start the music."
"My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose - somehow we win out."
"Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere as long as the policy you've decided upon is being carried out."
"They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong."
"Thomas Jefferson once said, 'We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.' And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying."
"To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last - but eat you he will."
"We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone."
"Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts."