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Home arrow Opinion arrow Our View arrow HONOR REAGAN, BUT LEAVE DIME ALONE



Most Americans and historians agree that Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan were two of our greatest presidents. Both men lifted the country out of despair and restored the United States to greatness. The two men shared common traits of strong, decisive leadership, great confidence and optimism, and the ability to communicate effectively and directly to the public: FDR through radio; Reagan through television.

Reagan is widely credited for pursuing policies that led to the dismantling of the Soviet Union. The threat of nuclear war is much diminished as a result of his efforts. FDR led the nation through an economic depression and saved the free-enterprise system while other nations collapsed. He then led the free world in the fight against Nazi brutality and Japanese oppression during World

War II.

It is troubling that a group of conservative Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced legislation to replace Roosevelt's image on the dime with that of Reagan.

This initiative came as a response to a CBS-TV movie about the Reagans, which has since been shelved for general viewing. The movie, from critics who reviewed it, was seen as a negative and flawed portrayal of the Reagan presidency. Republicans in the House evidently felt that their best response to CBS and Hollywood producers was to diminish the reputation and stature of FDR, a Democrat.

The House Republicans in their arrogance and partisanship have overstepped the bounds of decency and fairness. Nancy Reagan has carefully guarded her husband's legacy and is offended by those who would presume to speak for the former president. She is strongly against this legislation.

"When our country chooses to honor a great president such as Franklin Roosevelt by placing his likeness on our currency, it would be wrong to remove him and replace him with another," she said. "It is my hope that the proposed legislation be withdrawn."

The FDR dime was issued in 1946, one year after his death. The dime commemoration was not only a tribute to a great president, it recognized his personal struggle with polio. In the late 1930s, the March of Dimes became the name of the foundation that funded research leading to the Salk polio vaccine. Roosevelt had picked the dime as a fund-raising device, knowing that any person could afford that level of contribution.

There is great irony in the story of FDR. He was a man disabled by polio and paralyzed from the waist down. And yet he became a symbol of the strength and power of American democracy. His reputation and stature should not be blemished by the shrill partisanship and twisted logic of some right-wing ideologues.

The Reagan dime legislation should be withdrawn. There are hundreds of more appropriate ways to honor Reagan's legacy. Leave the dime to FDR.


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