June 6th, 2004



I was at least 19 years old when the I started to realize that there were thinking American citizens who disagreed with the policies of Ronald Reagan. It took some getting used to. It felt weird. To me, there had always been flawed presidents - Nixon and Johnson and Carter were all flawed, and in my lifetime we had Bush screwing up the economy and Clinton just screwing. But Ronald Reagan was like the roman athelete president or something. Perfect and optimistic and brilliant and should have been allowed to run at least one more term if not more. It's the way I was raised. As long as the republican party held office, we could be that city on the hill. Life could be perfect.

I've learned since then that life can't really be perfect, and the sad thing is that I think America learned the same thing. There are no more optimists in any office anywhere these days. Only Reagan said that "Whatever history might say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts." Who would say that now? The democrats, who've tried to divide classes against one another? The Bush administration with it's wars on terror, drugs, gays, abortion and who knows what else?

I learned that the Reagan administration wasn't perfect. I grew up listening to Rush Limbaugh talk about the government didn't need to be so huge and that's why Republicans were great - they believed in a smaller federal government. If only. Nobody at the top believes in a smaller federal government.

So hearing that Reagan died triggered a million reactions in me - I wanted to go back to that time when I believed and I was an optimist. I can't though. First off, I'm a liberal now. Second, it wouldn't do any good, even the Republicans have gone off the deep end. And third, I know it wasn't as great as I remembered it.