When I tweeted last night about my delighted that Ronald Reagan was being honoured with a statue in London I wasn’t at all surprised to receive some negative feedback. As one person remarked:
“haha u shouldn’t joke like that, it’s a Sunday”
As with any politician, Ronald Regan has his detractors. Particularly on the left of the political spectrum. And yet, for all the shrill cries of opposition today, one can’t ignore that Reagan was a force for unity in his own time. Consider for a moment that he defeated Jimmy Carter with 489 electoral college votes to 29 on the back of a popular vote majority of over 10 million (carrying all but three states). Compare that to Obama’s 2008 election where the electoral college vote split 365 to 173 with only 28 states falling into the victor’s column.
And when it came to his re-election, Reagan’s victory was all the more convincing: he secured 525 electoral college votes to Walter Mondale’s 13, carried 49 states and secured a popular vote majority of almost 17 million! And he did it by winning the support of not just Republicans and independents, but millions of Democrats as well.
Reagan was a unifying force, with an incredible gift for communicating his vision with clarity. He stood against the forces of communism with steadfast resolve, and defeated them without, as Lady Thatcher famously pointed out, without firing a single shot. One can only wonder how the Cold War might have resolved itself if Jimmy Carter had still been in the Oval Office.
Ultimately, Reagan demonstrated that capitalism is the greatest force for the proliferation of freedom the world has ever known. And for that alone he deserves to be honoured.