In June 1987, President Ronald Reagan spoke in Berlin to a long-divided Germany and to the leader of the Soviet Union: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
The pundits howled: “President Reagan was a second-tier movie actor, his challenge was pure, ineffective rhetoric; how could he expect to change the conscience of a tyrannical empire?”
Improbable then, but it happened. The wall was soon destroyed by the once-divided people following the courageous leadership of a a U.S. president.
In June 2012, a similar momentous decision occurred in politically divided Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker was elected on a promise to balance the state’s budgets and to change the conscience of the taxpayers toward expensive, unsustainable public employee pensions and health care. He kept his promises. The public unions retaliated by initiating a bitter recall effort, which failed.
Walker appealed to the consciences of the beleaguered taxpayers and prevailed against the tyrants! Courageous leadership prevailed again.
Political leaders should pay attention to the courageous leadership of Reagan and Walker. It worked well then and would again now.