When a world figure dies, so much is written about them
that I rarely feel compelled to join in on the avalanche of
tributes and commentary.
The occasion of the death of former British Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher is one of those moments, She was
unquestionably one of the giant figures of the latter half of
the 20th century.
I have noted, however, among some writers and other figures
in her country, and in mine, an attempt to denigrate Mrs.
Thatcher, almost all of this out of political spite and pettiness.
The words “divisive,” “controversial,” “headstrong,” "vindictive"
and “unwomanly” are among many terms employed pejoratively
(some of these terms otherwise might not be considered negatives)
in this petty spite. In fact, her most famous unofficial title,
“The Iron Lady,” which she bore proudly, was originally
penned as a negative by her sworn enemy, the Soviets, because
of her long opposition to Marxist totalitarianism.
Margaret Thatcher, like all politicians, made mistakes. Some
of her policies did not work out. But to have played a vital
part, along with Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and
Mikhail Gorbachev in ending the Cold War (1945-90), and
in defeating totalitarian communism, places Baroness
Thatcher in some very exclusive and important company.
Completely on her own, she stood down attempts by the
chronically dysfunctional Argentine government to annex
by force the Falkland Islands, and helped restore a waning British
The United Kingdom was once the greatest naval power the
world has even known. It was for a few centuries the world’s
greatest colonial power. At the outset of the 20th century, however,
Britain was in decline, militarily and economically. By the end of
the 20th century that decline had significantly increased. What has
remained, however, on that small island is a legacy of language,
law, and courage unmatched perhaps by any other national experience.
Even now, the UK remains outside (a Thatcher policy) the
collapsing Eurozone, and holds its own with the other major European
powers of Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
Just as scholars, analysts and other commentators (including myself)
are dissecting and reconsidering the careers of Winston Churchill and
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, heroes of the previous generation
in the West, two great men who were, as all of us are, flawed and made
mistakes, there will be time enough to analyze Margaret Thatcher’s
time on the political stage.
The denigrations of her contributions, at the moment of her death,
however, are quite petty, especially by those men and women who
fancy themselves as liberal advocates for women and feminism, but
can’t allow that an English woman could accomplish so much for
what she cherished and believed.
Copyright (c) 2013 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.