Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Margaret Thatcher: 1925-2013

As more political icons pass away and we reminisce through a retrospective of their lives and careers, we come to realize today how we are in such short supply of bold leadership.

Former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher died in a suite at the Ritz (Monday) after suffering a severe stroke.

Britain's first and only female political leader passed away peacefully aged 87, after battling poor health for more than a decade.

After a minor operation over Christmas, Baroness Thatcher had spent the past few months recuperating at the five-star hotel in central London.

The Iron Lady was given 24-hour care by nursing staff in her suite, after becoming too frail to stay in her Belgravia home.

The grocer's daughter, who became the longest serving British prime minister of the 20th century, will be honoured with a full ceremonial funeral - one step below a state funeral - at St Paul's Cathedral next week.

Not since Winston Churchill's death has a politician been granted such a tribute. His funeral was also held there in 1965.

While Lady Thatcher earned the nickname "The Iron Lady" for a reason, some people didn't convey that title in a complimentary tone. A conservative woman being vilified didn't originate with Sarah Palin in 2008. No, Lady Thatcher dealt with it on a much larger scale since she actually obtained substantive power. As such, it shouldn't be a surprise that in her death Thatcher's contributions as a female in power were called into question.

Amanda Foreman, who writes for the UK Daily Mail, had some rather pointed words for Thatcher's detractors in a piece she wrote just over a year ago.

When Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, her constituency office in Finchley was picketed by a group of self-styled ‘wimmin’ who complained: ‘We want women’s right’s — not a Right-wing woman.’

Here, boldly stated in black-and-white, was Thatcher’s crime. Her brand of women’s rights — the right to compete, fight, and succeed on equal terms with men — did not fit the fashionable orthodoxies of Left-wing feminism. She wasn’t interested in banning, separating, promoting, or defining: she was interested in winning.

Definitely read the whole thing.

I highlighted the above paragraphs because that's where Ms. Foreman really got to the heart of the matter. The political left is all for breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling, provided it's one of their own who breaks through. But when a conservative woman does so, it's somehow illegitimate. Apparently it's the political left's birthright to enact social progress.

My friend and Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg also shared his thoughts over at his place. Included in his post are some terrific video clips highlighting some of Lady Thatcher's bold leadership during her time as Prime Minister.

One of my favorite Lady Thatcher moments was her tribute to President Ronald Reagan upon his death in 2004. Despite her own failing health, she was determined to fulfill the wishes of President Reagan by participating in his funeral services. Even though she was advised by medical staff to not partake in such global travel, she attended the services nonetheless, but pre-recorded her eulogy.

Integrity, grace and determination to the end.


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