Proud Republican this Presidents Day

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Everyone remembers the first presidential election they voted in. I was 20 years-old and in college when I had the privilege to vote for the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.

The four years of Jimmy Carter’s presidency had been dismal to say the least and we couldn’t wait to see him voted out of office. 

Ever since then I have been proud to be a Republican and even more important, to vote in every election no matter how small.

Last year I read Bret Baier’s book “Three Days in January, Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission.” I liked it so much that I just read his follow-up book “Three Days In Moscow, Ronald Reagan and the fall of the Soviet Empire.”

I love books on history and these two were engaging stories that I found easy to read.

I have read a lot on World War II but this book on Eisenhower was my first read concerning his presidency. Dwight’s final mission was to turn over the presidency to the newly elected president, John F. Kennedy.

According to Brett’s book, when it came time for Eisenhower to take the reigns of government he received a cold shoulder from President Harry Truman. Because of this Ike felt it was important to show support and encouragement to the next leader of the free world when he stepped down. Those two, Eisenhower and Kennedy, developed a trusting relationship to the point that when he was stunned by the Bay of Pigs fiasco, President Kennedy flew Eisenhower to Camp David for his advice.

A  stark contrast is how the Clinton administration vandalized and damaged the White House when they left the office after the election of George W. Bush.

I have read more than one book about Reagan because, like many, I consider him the greatest president of my lifetime. And with each book I learn something new and interesting.

With all his faults — and no president is without them — Reagan was responsible for leading the United States out of the cold war. 

Baire’s book concentrates on Reagan’s disdain for socialism/communism and his relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev, culminating with Reagan’s speech at the Moscow State University toward the end of his presidency.

Before Gorbachev, Reagan basically ignored the leaders of the Soviet Union, not even attending the funerals of  Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko.

Some of you may not be old enough to remember this but the Democrats, and the media in general, kept telling us that Reagan would lead us into nuclear war with his hard line stance against the Soviet Union. 

Instead, Reagan and Gorbachev ended up signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

It was Reagan’s policy of firmness, the military buildup in the U.S. and the threat of SDI, otherwise know as Star Wars, that forced Gorbachev and the Soviets to change their system of government in the  late 1980s and early 90s.

Young Russian activists were known to make pilgrimages to California to see Reagan — whom they considered as the father of perestroika, not Gorbachev.

Another item that makes me proud to be Republican is our history of helping Americans of black heritage.

For a long time Democrats have been trying to paint Republicans as racists in order to hide their own racist past. It’s called deflection.

It may surprise some of my readers, but a bigger percentage of Republicans than Democrats voted to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Democratic supermajority in the Senate split their vote 46 (69 percent) for and 21 (31 percent) against. The Republicans, on the other hand, split their vote 27 for (82 percent) and 6 against (18 percent). 

The House voted 290 to 130 in favor. Democrats split their vote 152 (61 percent) to 96 (39 percent) while Republicans split theirs 138 (80) to 34 (20).

Obviously, the 1964 Civil Right Act would not have passed without Republican support.

It was Republicans who freed the slaves, it was Democrats who opposed the integration of freed slaves through Jim Crow laws and it was the Klu Klux Klan that became the militarized arm of the Democrat party. Democrat Sen. Robert “KKK” Byrd, was a recruiter for the Klan while in his 20s and 30s, rising to the title of Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops of his local chapter. After leaving the group, Byrd spoke in favor of the Klan during his early political career.

Wikipedia lists 20 politicians who were active in the Klan at some time. Three were Republican.

I have a lot of friends who are Republicans but I know none who are racists. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In politics there are racists on both sides of the political isle — even in the state of Virginia. Let’s pray that one day there won’t be.

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