From time to time we have the opportunity to see great leaders. In recent weeks we have glimpsed two examples of great leadership. U.S. Representative Paul Ryan continues to stand tall in defending and explaining his budget plan. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood tall when he addressed the United States Congress where he decreed where Israel will compromise and where his nation will not back down.
President Ronald Reagan was another great leader. He was the best United States President in my adult life because he stood tall in his leadership abilities, principles, love of country, and vision. The Foundry, published by The Heritage Foundation, considers Reagan to be “the greatest American president of the last 100 years.”
The Ronald Reagan Centennial Gala was held in Washington, D.C., on May 24, 2011. The Ronald Reagan Centennial Freedom Award was given to Lech Walesa, a leader who stood tall for Poland in her hour of need. Special keynote speakers were Robert M. Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense, and Dr. Liam Fox, M.P., United Kingdom Secretary of Defence.
Nile Gardiner [blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/nilegardiner…] shared some of the “brilliant speech” given by Dr. Fox as he “paid tribute to the powerful partnership between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.” He called the relationship between the two leaders “an unbreakable alliance that defeated the Soviet Empire and won the Cold War.” He wrote that Dr. Fox has been a “true friend of the United States for decades” as well as a “star performer” in the cabinet of David Cameron.
Gardiner reported that Dr. Fox won great applause when he said, “It is impossible to assess the contribution of Ronald Reagan to the history of the 20th century without considering another political giant of the era – Margaret Thatcher – his friend, ally, and intellectual soul mate.
“… At a time when leadership was so needed they brought values, vision, and valor. The Cold War did not end. It was won. It was not an accident. It came about because the leadership of the free world was committed politically, militarily, and morally to the defeat of totalitarian ideology and the triumph of liberty and freedom.
“It was not an exercise in expediency but the application of conviction. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher understood that our strength lay in people not governments and that liberated from the dead hand of the state – of the self-perpetuating bureaucracy –the innovation and drive of free people would triumph. They believed that competition is to be welcomed not feared – that it is the means by which we judge our talents, one against the other, without recourse to conflict.
“They understood that there is a difference between tolerance and surrender and that the moral relativism that blurs the distinction between right and wrong needs to be confronted. They knew what they believed to be right and had the courage to say so – and they knew what they believed to be wrong and had the fortitude to confront it.
“They knew that in a free society the market works – that the combined wisdom of millions of individuals, acting in their own interests, is always likely to trump the wisdom of the self-selecting elites of government.
“They were giants of history when history needed giants. We may never see their likes again in our lifetime. But living and nurturing their legacy is the greatest honour that any of us can do for their dreams, their endeavors, and their hopes. Let us not let them down.”
I am grateful for the reminder that the free world was once led by two truly great leaders. We are now in a time of political upheavals, economic distress, and great natural disasters. We need someone like Reagan and Thatcher – someone with courage, leadership, fortitude, vision, and good principles – to step forward to lead the free world once again. We need someone who will support members of Congress like Paul Ryan who are bravely and unwaveringly battling to save our nation. We need a President who will dare to stand beside men like Mr. Netanyahu in defending the rights of Israel to exist as a nation.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews [ifcy.org], quoted Thomas Jefferson as saying: “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
Paul Ryan, Benjamin Netanyahu, Lech Walesa, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan have all shown us where to compromise and where to stand firm. They all showed true leadership.
The world has tremendous need for another great leader. Who will lead the free world through these difficult times? Is Netanyahu of the nation of Israel the next great leader of the free world? Can we find such a leader in the United States of America in our day? Where is the next Margaret Thatcher? Where is the next Ronald Reagan? Whoever you are and wherever you are hiding, please stand up now!