Monday, June 07, 2004

Ronald Reagan, R.I.P.


I posted this on another forum but thought it was worth it to copy it here.

I was terrified of RR when he was president. I lived in MA and was surrounded by liberals who hated him and portrayed him as an idiot, a reckless cowboy, a loner, someone who was going to destroy the world. For many years I had a recurring nightmare of atomic bombs dropping into the Charles River and Boston/Cambridge going up in a mushroom cloud.

I vividly recall how gray, ugly, and depressing the world was during the Carter Administration. We all wore extra sweaters and turned down the temperature on the thermostat to 65 degrees. I was always cold in the winter. My dad used to warm up my hands between his big ones. There was gas rationing and no one had any money and everyone was afraid they were going to lose their jobs.

No one planted flowers around their houses or cared about how things looked. The world, at least as I knew it, was poor.

When Reagan was elected, everyone I knew was shocked at how stupid the rest of the country was. "Well, we were certainly in for it now," the punditry declared... and, as I said, I was terrified.

I couldn't stand to listen to the man speak because he just seemed to spout so many empty words, and he espoused philosophies that made no sense.

Now, so many years later, my most prominent feeling is resentment, sometimes downright anger, at how manipulated I was all those years ago. I only ever got one side of the story, the side that said the President was an idiot, that talked about "voodoo economics" instead of "system dynamics". The side that said "Peace through strength" will never work, and even when it did -- even NOW -- still failed to give it credit.

I was robbed. I lived during an era of tremendous, hopeful, positive change: Reagan's presidency -- but I spent the entire time wishing he were not president, convinced that he was a stupid, evil man, doing stupid, evil things.

Well, his legacy is already well-established so it doesn't matter. Yes, he (or the Congresses he worked with) tripled the deficit, but that didn't stop the economy from growing by leaps and bounds. Reagan ended the Cold War. Perhaps most important, he re-established hope for the future as the American Way.

We were blessed to have him as our president. I only wish I appreciated him more at the time.

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