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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Miracle: How The 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team Helped Turn Around A Nation

DISCLAIMER: I don't really believe that the 1980 victory over the Soviets was a miracle, but that is the word that has been widely attached to it.

Let's think about February 1980. The country was at the edge of the abyss. Rampant liberalism since the 1960s had caused the moral collapse of our society. We were in the midst of one of the worst recessions of the 20th century (only eclipsed by The Great Depression). The worst president in our nation's history, Jimmy Carter, had spent 3 years ruining an already collapsing nation. U.S. hostages were being held in Iran, and had been there for 3 months.

In short, the nation was in the toilet.

Then came a hockey team full of youngsters that nobody had heard of, coached by a hockey coach nobody had heard of.

I watched Miracle this morning, the 2004 dramatic film starring Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks. As the final seconds of the climactic game against the Soviets ticked off, and the tears streamed down my face in patriotic pride, I realized just how big that game was for our nation. Remembering the malaise described in the opening paragraph above, and remembering that the cold war had raged on for 33 years by time this point in time, our nation needed a jolt to wake them from the fear, apathy, and despair that had gripped it for so long.

After the U.S. Olympic hockey team beat the Soviets on February 22, 1980, things began to change. And while you don't change such a mess of a nation overnight, that day the wheels were set in motion for a nation to recover.

After the game everyone knew who Herb Brooks, and many of the players like Jim Craig and Mike Eruzione, were. And the nation began to believe in itself again.

On November 4, 1980, that recovery took a booster shot in the arm. Ronald Wilson Reagan won a landslide victory over the worst president in our nation's history, Jimmy Carter, to become the 40th president of the United States.

Iran released the American hostages the day Reagan was inaugurated, January 20, 1981. Reagan immediately set about to reverse the other major problems facing the nation: the recession and the cold war.

By the middle of his first term, America was well on their way to economic recovery. And while liberal socialists continue to bash Reagan's economic policy, it was that policy that allowed the nation to enjoy the longest period of peacetime economic growth in the nation's history. Lasting well into the Clinton administration, Reagan should be rightfully credited for laying an outstanding foundation for personal wealth building. While Clinton, and now Obama, continue to chip away at that foundation, true Americans know that Reagan was right.

And he was equally successful in conducting the cold war. Where Carter had been weak, almost apologetic, towards the Soviet Union, Reagan was tough. He talked tough. He called the Soviets the "Evil Empire". He told Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall. And he began funding SDI, or Star Wars as it was labeled by the liberal media, to protect our nation from ICBMs fired at it. The thought of SDI, something they could never dream of building themselves, scared the Soviets. And that fear began to break down the cohesion of the Soviet empire.

In fact, it was the Persian Gulf war that highlighted how close the U.S. was to realizing Reagan's dream of missile defense. As the world watched, Patriot missiles were successful time and time again of knocking out Iraq's scud missiles as they fired them at U.S. forces and Israel. The Soviets took notice of that success.

The Persian Gulf war ended February 28, 1991. On December 8, 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed. The seeds of that collapse actually were sown much earlier that year through the spring and summer of 1991. Coincidence? Obviously not. That more pundits do not talk about the effect of the Persian Gulf War, and the Patriot missile, in the collapse of the Soviet Union surprises me. When those Patriot missiles displayed America's missile defense capabilities, the successful results served notice to the Soviets.

All of this great and historic turn-around began when 20 ordinary young men accomplished the extraordinary and defeated the Soviet hockey juggernaut. Remembering that they had just lost to the Soviet hockey team, 10-3, 13 days earlier, I think that beating the Soviets made the nation start believing that no matter how dire things appear, victory was still possible.

Looking back at that period in our history, makes you realize how important it is to have the right person in the right position at the right time. Herb Brooks was the right man to coach the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Ronald Reagan was the right man to lead the U.S. during the 1980s. After a year and a half it is obvious that Barack Hussein Obama is the wrong man for the job at the wrong time in our current point in history.

We can start correcting that this November. And in November of 2012. The next two and half years are going to be critical for our nation. Just like in 1980, we are headed the wrong way. These next two elections are so important because getting the right people in place will help us begin a recovery like Ronald Reagan presided over in the 80s. It starts by electing the right people to the right positions at the right time this November. And in November of 2012. I believe we can do it. I believe once again that this nation can take a cue from the 1980 Olympic hockey team, pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, and be victorious.

To not do that will be disastrous for this the greatest nation on God's green earth.

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