By Ken Feltman
Many are praising former President Ronald Reagan on the 100th anniversary of his birth. People of all political stripes are claiming a piece of his legacy.
Some try too hard to sum up Reagan. Usually they make him more complex.
Reagan was not nuanced. His leadership was based on commitment and certainty. He used unmistakable words. At the Brandenburg Gate in 1987, he stated his deep belief: “Freedom and security go together.” Then Reagan made his demand: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
At the time, many criticized Reagan as simplistic. But Reagan knew that words can touch people. He understood something more, too – that only when words are rooted in truth can they move people.
Reagan was honest with himself and that allowed him to be honest with us. He knew the truth about his weaknesses as well as his strengths. That honesty permitted him to use words to change history.