Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
The 26 year-old me disagrees vehemently with most of Reagan’s policies, but I was not 26 year-old me in the 1980s. The 4-12 year-old knew Reagan only as a very distinctive looking man who ran as a Republican, like Abraham Lincoln. He seemed as good a president as any to have. And apparently, we were all still alive, not dead by nuclear bombs, because of Reagan.
My memories of President #40, then, are either fond or indifferent. He was my first knowledge of American government, and something about that was comfortable.
Now, mind you, I know better. I despise the inaction of the Reagan administration to the AIDS crisis, gnash my teeth in frustration at the foreign policy ideas that helped lead to a terrible day in a recent September. Today I feel as though I was bamboozled by a charming film actor who had been entrusted with more power than he was capable of truly handling.
That said, he seemed a personable gentleman with a wonderful marriage, and I think something about his gravitas is sorely lacking in American conservatism today, at least at the higher levels of government. The Bushes 41 and 43 still seem to me like crass opportunists with no understanding of the entirety of this nation’s people. Reagan convinced me, in his way, that he looked at his terms as civil service, that he genuinely wanted to use his power for the good of the nation (even when his decisions were woefully misguided or flat-out wrong). The Bush clan has convinced me only that they want an America that caters to the whims of themselves and their friends.
It’s entirely possible I misread Reagan, and even now I’m taken in. But I don’t particularly care. My memories of the man are my memories, and whatever I learned later is whatever I learned later.
And I will say that I wouldn’t have wished his manner of death on anybody. Nancy’s statement that the president’s “journey has taken him to a place I can no longer follow” broke my heart right in two.
In America, any person born on the soil can be President. This one may not have turned out to be of my liking, but he was still one of the few I’ve experienced in my young lifetime. Out of respect for the office, I will observe an internal silence for his passing.