We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
The world lost a giant this past week. Every once in a while someone comes along with a combination of character, personality, ability and timing so right that he or she can be said to have changed the course of history.
Three such people come to mind for the twentieth century: Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher. Two British Prime Ministers and an American President.
Winston Churchill’s indomitable personality and courage inspired a people to carry on in the face of horrible attacks by Hitler’s Nazis and then led the free world in its post-war dealings with Germany. Who would want to contemplate that era of the world’s history without this man?
Ronald Reagan righted the ship of a fast sinking nation. His predecessor brought us a combination of hyperinflation and economic stagnation so horrible it gave rise to a new term—stagflation. Our nation had also become a laughingstock around the world. With his calmly assured demeanor and powerful leadership, both our domestic woes and our international position were reversed with his first term. Without him, would we even still be an independent nation?
Margaret Thatcher pretty much did the same things for Britain that Reagan did for the United States. She took the laughingstock of Europe and restored it to its position as a world leader. She revived an economy choking to death on the excesses of socialism. She exhibited the moral courage to defend her nation’s territory and citizens against foreign invaders in the Falkland Islands—halfway around the world from her navy’s home base.
I don’t follow British politics closely enough to know all of the things this powerful woman did for her country, but I know they were many and crucially important. The Economist says “ONLY a handful of peacetime politicians can claim to have changed the world. Margaret Thatcher was one.”
Thatcher rose to power just before Reagan’s election as President. Call it God’s timing or a lucky fluke or whatever you will, but this allowed these two great leaders to strengthen and feed off each other. It’s doubtful either would have been quite so successful in the absence of the other. Thank God we got both at the same time.
Like any great leader, she had her detractors. I’m sure there are some among my readers who would disagree with my assessment of her greatness, but I don’t think anyone who remembers the world situation and that of Britain in particular would deny she made a profound difference.
R.I.P., Margaret Thatcher.
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