Flutterby™! : Ronald Reagan - American

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Ronald Reagan - American

2004-06-07 15:08:59.547224+00 by ziffle 3 comments

I suppose he was not the most popular guy in some parts, but in Mayberry, Ronald Reagan was tops.

I don't vote - generally. It's a waste of time. The choices are awful, and freedom is crushed by the results of our educational system, who vote by the millions.

We endured Kennedy's Fascist 'New Frontier'; Johnson's idiocy of micro-managing a war to stalemate; Nixon's managed economy disaster, and of course Carters 'the best years are in our past' speech and attitude. With Carter we had ships that could not go to sea for lack of sailors, crashed helicopters in the desert, and hostages that had been held by a third rate religious dictatorship.

So when Reagan came along and said 'the best is yet to come', and 'government is not the solution but the problem', and expressed that radiant optimism that is the American character, I made the effort and voted for him, as did every one else. He carried 49 states that night, blowing Carter out of office - it was so sweet.

And he delivered - two hours before he was sworn in -- the hostages were released. When the air traffic controllers pushed, he pushed back, and fired them all. Ahhhh - justice. And that set the stage for dealing with the Cold War. It was not a forgone conclusion how that might come out, but he raised the ante and the USSR had to fold.

And he did all this in a nice way. He stuck to his principles and it worked.

He had his flaws. For example, he believed in god, and was religious, and that caused him to go astray - I could not vote for him the second time. But he won big again of course anyway.

So I have mixed feelings about part of him, but in a longer sense I miss him. He was a part of real America, and we are better off for him.

So, it may sound corny, but I'll miss the `gipper' and his belief in the American ideal and its optimism.

Ziffle of Mayberry

[ related topics: Machinery Economics Ziffle History Religion Invention and Design moron Civil Liberties Privacy Law Enforcement ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-08 15:45:25.080483+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

I'm not sure I have much to add to the Reagan discussion, but I'm not nearly so ready to celebrate the man. As a charismatic leader he brought a certain upbeat mood to the country, but he did so while reinstating pomp, ceremony and tradition that I believe we'd be much better off without as a culture.

The willingness to give the "Strategic Defense Initiative" and Reagan's nuclear brinksmanship credit for the downfall of the Soviet Union to my mind gives way too much credit to a flawed political and social system, and way too little credit to Mikhail Gorbachev, the real hero of that situation. If one believes in the superiority of capitalism, to pretend that the downfall of the Soviet Union was due to a program that nobody believed was technically viable shows a disturbing lack of faith.

While people give him credits for tax cuts, in reality he presided over the largest tax increases certainly to date, and perhaps in history even to this point. And he did so while massively outspending our income in a way that's sent shockwaves through fiscal issues even today. Long-reaching effects, but not necessarily good ones.

And crediting him with the return of the Iran hostages shows a belief in his ties to a fundamentalist state which destroyed rights and devastated freedoms which I guess were pretty much confirmed by the whole Iran Contra affair.

Would this also be a time to mention the anti-freedom litmus tests he applied to his Supreme Court appointees, perhaps culminating in the collective horrors that are the beliefs of Robert Bork? Youch.

I will say that the man was a charismatic leader, and if you're a believer in the rightness of such things over reason then indeed he's a hero. I've a friend who's definitely on the other side of the fence who got an assignment to interview and photograph Reagan when he was governor of California, and John says that he's met nobody, before or since, who gave such an incredible sense of presence and making other people in the conversations feel like they mattered the most at that given moment. Even in the light of tight schedules and frantic handlers, a photographer and reporter from a free weekly felt like he was the absolute center of Ronald Reagan's universe for half an hour.

And that's a pretty amazing skill.

I'm also proud to say that I was slipping flyers for Ed Clark under windshield wipers on the eve of the election that brought Reagan the presidency.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-08 16:24:02.347822+00 by: Dan Lyke

Oh yeah, in the other things we can attribute to the Reagan legacy, we should add:

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-10 13:58:25.291955+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

I must admit I've been a little surprised at the... level of reaction to Reagan's passing. Nearly everyone I've ever known has held basically the same opinion expressed by Dan - at best. At worst it's been open ridicule and bitter condemnation. I suppose it's just another example of how out of touch I am with the bulk of our society.

[meta]What happened to the "Flutterby!" title/link at the top of the page?[/meta]