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April 18, 2013 9:06 am

Long Live the Iron Lady

avatar by Susan Kone

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Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Today the American people express their prayers and condolences to the people of Great Britain for the loss of a great leader, a fine women and a true champion of freedom.

From modest beginnings – her intelligence, determination and admirable work ethic propelled this iconic figure to rise in a male dominated world of English politics and become the first female Prime Minister of England.

She defended her principles passionately and tenaciously. She was eloquent and quotable and could talk the talk — but she also “walked the walk”. In the words of her great friend Ronald Reagan this shopkeeper’s daughter who worked her way to and through Oxford knew in her heart that “the government is not the solution to the problem — but government is the problem”. She applied free market principles in what many deemed intractably liberal Britain to turn around a moribund economy, tame rampant inflation and revive a downtrodden people.

She loved her country. She loathed tyranny which rob individuals of liberty, dignity and opportunity. She helped to topple the Soviet Union. She understood the danger and savagery of terrorism and the potentially devastating effects it could have on democracies.

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When asked what she thought to be her greatest accomplishment this woman who reshaped British politics and served as prime minister for 11 years most often said -“helping save a young Austrian girl from the Nazis.” “Never hesitate to do whatever you can, for you may save a life,” she continued to tell audiences proudly. That is the kind of person Margaret Thatcher was – a good and decent person.

In the end it is good and decent people who make great leaders.

Today – when the freedom and individualism she so zealously championed are in grave jeopardy — we need a great leader like Margaret Thatcher.

Today – when principle has given way to compromise and expediency — we need a great leader like Margaret Thatcher.

Today – when those who preach and practice mass genocide are too often appeased — we need a great leader like Margaret Thatcher.

Today – when antisemitism is on the rise and great lies have once again become great truths to too many — we need a great leader like Margaret Thatcher.

Today  – when those who glorify and perpetrate terrorism are legitimized and rewarded — we need a great leader like Margaret Thatcher.

Hers are humungous shoes to fill. I am not certain that any one person will emerge that can fill them. But all people who value life, human dignity and freedom must continue to work together to try. And that I believe is the greatest tribute we can pay to a woman whose character, strength and purpose can and must live on.

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