The world lost a giant today.
I have two Ronald Reagan stories that stick in my mind.
In 1976 as Reagan fought an uphill battle with President Ford for the Republican nomination, I, a 16 year old high school student, became an ardent supporter. During the course of that summer I had a number of political conversations with my grandmother (who died a few years later).
She had always voted Democratic because a)almost everyone in Texas voted Democratic since Reconstruction and b)she bought the Democrat scare tactics about Republicans wanting to cut off Social Security. As I explained to her Reagan's ideas for the country - a strong national defense, strident anti-communism, tax relief, and deficit reduction through stronger economic growth - I started to win her over. I actually had her conviced to vote for Reagan if he won the nomination (she didn't like Ford at all).
Reagan narrowly lost to Ford - he was close enough though to try the gambit of selecting his vice-presidential nominee before the convention in the hopes that Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania could deliver his home-state delegation (he couldn't). But perhaps it was fortunate for America that the Jimmy Carter was elected to set the stage for the Reagan-Thatcher conservative revolution that began with Thatcher's ascendancy to British PM in 1979 and was cemented with Reagan's election in 1980.
The second story concerns Reagan's re-election in 1984. My brother (who at the time was a Reagan supporter but is now, after too many years in New York, a flaming liberal) and I were watching the election returns over a few beers in the student union building at the University of Texas. We cheered as state after state fell into the Reagan column (eventually 59 of them in total - Mondale won only his home state of Minnesota and even it only by a small margin).
As we left the building a group of idiots were jumping up and down on a group of tables they had pushed together holding up signs calling Reagan a Nazi and screaming at us. One of the the facsist youth thrust her sign my way as we walked past hollering about Nazis etc. I took the offending sign out of her hand and tore it in half. I asked her if she knew what a Nazi was and then cautioned her to take care before she called someone that.
It struck me today at how kindly everyone remembered him - but I still remember the protests over Pershing missle deployments in Europe, the nuclear freeze movement, and all of the snide remarks about the actor president (Bedtime for Bonzo don't you know). He was despised by the leftists who thought him a dangerous cowboy, a simpleton who didn't know that a president wasn't supposed to say undiplomatic things like calling the Soviet Union an "evil empire".
History, of course, has vindicated his views and his strategy and no one wants to confess that they were wrong about him then (except perhaps the moron Danny Glover and a few other Hollywood wackos).
At a perilous time in American history Ronald Reagan helped bring the country together due to the optimism and strength of his message. He stood fast in opposing Communism while the protests raged and the critics predicted disaster. And because of his convictions millions today live in freedom that might not have otherwise. Oh, I know that a lot of the pundits will say that the Soviet Union was destined to crumble, that it was only a matter of time. But what if the US had crumbled first? As they say, the victory does not always go to the swift.
The world is a better place because of the leadership he provided. God bless his eternal soul.
Thank you Ronald Reagan.
I am the enemy.
I am the enemy of the left wing KPFT Pacifica Radio crowd. Part of the ignorant, uneducated, fundamentalist Christian, reactionary, brownshirt crowd that blindly supports President Bush out of fear...and greed...and racist tendencies. I want to choke the world with pollutants...I am the reason that the French view us with contempt.
So much bile spews forth from these conspiracy theory types and yet they win new converts every day. A Howard Dean here, an Al Gore there - apparently the anti-American flu is extremely congtagious.
This worries me. I still love this country and what it stands for. I believe that we had no choice but to start a democratic revolution in the middle east even though we knew it was impossible to fully control all of the consequences once the dictatorships had been removed.
To the anarcho-pacifists, the Gulf Wars were about OIIIIL! Well guess what...they are right. What kind of an idiot believes that world history is NOT determined at the point of a gun? I would rather have the vast oil resources of the Persian Gulf controlled by states (Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) nominally allied with and dependent upon the United States (a liberal democracy) than directly controlled by a ruthless dictatorship with the sadistic Saddam Hussein at the helm.
Either way the oil fields are controlled by the stronger force - the question is which scenario is better for the world-at-large. The radical left in this country would rather see the oil fields controlled by Arabs (no matter how hideously brutal a regime) than by the white man. And to them, the freedom of 50 million Arabs from tyranny is not worth the cost of one American soldier's life. They argue that Arabs are not ready for democracy...excuse me, but isn't this a little racist?
The problem in the US now is that consensus has been lost as to what we stand for. Christians are ridiculed as narrow-minded bigots as the left embraces gay marriage and other social issues that are deemed "progressive". Morality is considered cliche. This does not bode well.
Our enemy is dedicated and absolutely undeterred by war crimes tribunals. Having inferior weaponry, technology and manpower they seek to use the liberal media's anti-Bush bias to leverage terrorist acts in order to give the appearance that the "resistance" is more widespread than it is.
The war can still be lost if we cannot summon the will to accept the casualties that this war inevitably will demand. Liberals - wake up and love America again before its too late.