June 07, 2004

And now back to the serious

I posted a frivolous entry after the linkage to Reagan posts because I just needed a mental break. Seeing the bile pouring out at the DU made me want to puke. Reading lots of the memorial posts to President Reagan has eased my mind enough so that I can describe what Reagan meant to me:

Some of the most vivid memories from my childhood are of the Cold War and the continuous threat of nuclear war. Every Saturday morning, I would listen as the air raid sirens were tested. I lived 6 miles away from the closest shelter, but the sound was loud and clear. We watched the news each day to see how much closer the world had inched towards annihilation. That was how the 1960's ended and the 1970's began.

The Seventies reintroduced this country to government corruption and crimes via Watergate. A president resigned in disgrace over the incident. Then a peanut farmer from Georgia appeared on the scene and the people of the United States decided to give the reigns of power to a DC outsider. To give Carter his due, I believed then that he was a decent man full of good intentions. Unfortunately, the road to misery index was paved by those intentions: double digit inflation; a stagnant economy; waiting in gas lines for 2+ hours on the weekends; the Iran hostage crisis; timid responses to international aggression(note: I agreed then and agree now that boycotting the 1980 Olympics was the proper thing to do); and the creation of the misery index. Many in this country were convinced that America's best days were behind us as we entered 1980.

An then a funny thing happened: the governor of California received the GOP nomination for President and won the general election. He campaigned on the idea that he believed in the people of this country, that America would once again become the leader of the free world. And after becoming President, Reagan governed in the same way. Even when the recession of the early 1980's was at its worst(10+% unemployment) , President Reagan's confidence in this country inspired that same sort of confidence in the rest of us. His heartfelt belief in the people of this country lifted our spirits and finally allowed us to shake off the malaise of the 1970's. And when the Soviet Union finally collapsed as an instituion, we realized that President Reagan's faith in us was justified. We were proud not only of this country, but also the man that we had chosen to lead us.

Watching President Reagan deteriorate the last 10 years has been difficult. His mind was no longer sharp; his wit no longer inspired. The love of his life watched over her best friend as he was slowly devoured from within. The rest of us could only offer condolences and support. And now that his suffering has ended I can only say this: You were the tonic this country needed during a low point. Would that there were more like you. Godspeed, Mr. President.

Posted by Physics Geek at June 7, 2004 04:45 PM StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!