Marquette Wire

Op-Ed: Response to HARRINGTON: Reagan Legacy Incorrectly Praised

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In an edition of the Marquette Tribune dated Feb. 20, there was published an opinion piece entitled, “Reagan Legacy Incorrectly Praised.” The piece proceeded to attack the legacy of former President Ronald Reagan and accused the conservative students who honor his legacy of either ignorance at best, or malice at worse. While we applaud the Tribune’s dedication to publishing thought-provoking journalism, and naturally respect the author’s constitutional right to express his viewpoints in the press, we know it incumbent upon us as the representatives of the Marquette conservative community to correct the record of half-truths and falsehoods which heretofore have been presented as fact.

Among the primary pieces of misinformation contained in the article is the characterization of the presidency of Reagan as “disastrous.” Now, what an individual chooses to define as “disastrous” is highly a matter of opinion, but it is important for any individual concerned with truth to support their opinions with facts.

Here are a few: Since the end of his second term, presidential historians have consistently ranked the Reagan administration as among the top 10 most successful in American history. So popular were his policies of small government and “peace through strength” that, in three consecutive elections, the American people delivered both him and Vice President George H.W. Bush electoral and popular landslides — with Republicans winning the popular vote by 9.5 percent in 1980, 18.2 percent in 1984 and 7.8 percent in 1988.

Given the massive success of the president’s domestic policies, this can hardly be considered a surprise. The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which dramatically decreased tax rates on all Americans, was instrumental in rescuing America from the economic doldrums which characterized the preceding Carter administration. This, combined with business deregulation and monetary reform, kindled a period of economic dynamism not experienced since the early 1950s.

His free-market policies saw the creation of 16 million new jobs, a $4,000 increase in median family income, and an 11 percent decrease in inflation. We concede that, during this time, the earnings gap between the richest and poorest Americans increased. Potential negative effects of this are negated, however, when one considers that the average working class American grew in net wealth during his administration. Furthermore, we call to question the very relevance of such a statistic when measuring the quality of a nation’s economy. As the bloodstained ramparts of the Berlin wall may surely testify, it is better to exist among an unequal sharing of blessings than an equal sharing of misery.

Furthermore, to characterize the Reagan foreign policy as anything short of massively successful is to demonstrate an ignorance of world history so astounding that it perhaps borders on the miraculous. Reagan was not afraid to call the Soviet Union for what it was: an evil empire. Through selective increases in military spending and savvy diplomacy, he forced the Kremlin into a fury of expenditure and reform which the country’s hobbled socialist economy could scarce afford.

In his eight years in office, Reagan brought the world from the brink of nuclear destruction and transformed it into one ripe for the cultivation of freedom of democracy. Regardless of political persuasion, it should be easy for Americans to echo the words of final Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, and say that Ronald Reagan was truly “a great president.”

As the Marquette Tribune continues to push a strictly liberal agenda that aids in the liberal bias on campus, we refuse not to be heard. We will continue to fight so that voices from all across the political spectrum are heard, as that is what is fair to the students who invest in this academic institution. It should not be in the interest of a university to indoctrinate students by publishing solely the liberal agenda, purposefully omitting student access to conservative viewpoints from their own university paper.

We are writing this letter to encourage the Marquette Tribune to engage in dialogue with the leaders of these profound organizations listed below as we move forward: Turning Point USA, Young Americans for Freedom and The Marquette University College Republicans. We also encourage them to publish an occasional article on what our groups are doing, just as they do for liberal organizations on campus. As WISN 12 and local news stations pick up our stories and conversations, we do not understand why the university paper ignores the conservative voice on campus while bashing and never asking for a response from those the paper seeks to condemn. Marquette University encourages diversity, but often forgoes diversity of intellect. We know that dialogue is the most essential part of becoming better informed as a university.

Former President Reagan truly lived out what it means to “Be The Difference.”

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