Reagan and the Government-Haters

Reagan’s Terrifying Words
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”   –Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan was a really nice man. I know this from personal experience. I engaged one on one with him doing an interview for TBS that aired nationally in prime time. I found him to be gracious, thoughtful, and kind. But he had some really bad ideas that have produced bitter fruit.

Reagan said that the idea the government can help us is terrifying. What is terrifying is Reagan’s idea about government,

My parents bought their first home with a GI loan.  That was government assistance

Millions of American veterans got a college education under the GI Bill  Not terrifying

I know a veteran who got his hip replaced who wouldn’t have been able to pay for the pain killers let alone the operation if it hadn’t been for the VA.

And a widow who would be homeless if it weren’t for the check from Social Security that some government worker makes sure gets put in the mail every month.

And a 10-year old boy whose single mother died, and is being taken care of now by an aunt who gets a check from the Social Security folks every month to buy his food and books and tennis shoes.

What’s terrifying about that?

I’ll tell you what is terrifying.

Government-haters who run for office.

But what’s more terrifying than that is an American who’s fool enough to vote for people like that.

But the most terrifying of all are the government haters who get to Congress and then start cutting.  Mindlessly.  Heartlessly.

For example, they make sure there’s not enough funding to hire workers to answer the phones and do the paperwork at the VA, so foolish people will blame socialized medicine.  They yell patriotism and wear American-flag lapel pins and say government should live within its means and make sure that the veterans who fought for the flag can’t get cared for.

But a lot of foolish Americans will applaud the government-haters and say it’s good to have people like them who will take back America.

Well, they’re right about that.  Those kind of people will take America back, but not forward.

Reagan was a kind man but he encouraged a lot of people to hate government. It’s Reagan’s spiritual legacy, if you can call hatred spiritual.

If you think about it, hating government is hating ourselves. Americans believe that our government is…well, us.

As Lincoln put it–government of the people, by the people, for the people.

If we hate government, we hate ourselves.

Shame on all the Americans who say they hate Washington.  Who do they think Washington is?

Washington is America. Washington is people. Washington is us. What’s so terrifying about that?


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–Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and communication strategist. His book “The Words Lincoln Lived By” is in its 25th printing and “Time Tactics of Very Successful People” is in its 43rd. His training video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, call 404-435-2225.

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