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June 09, 2004

President Reagan

You know, back when Reagan was first elected, I was a bit scared of him. He was so unlike any other politician. He was so sure of his beliefs. And my Jesuit taught college education caused me to fear anyone who was so sure of what was right and wrong.

Slowly, I changed my thinking. I still could not admit that I thought he was okay, mind you, but ever so slowly, I started to admire the man for his downright ballsiness in standing up to the Soviet Union. I was scared to death that the Soviet Union would attack us because of Reagan's strength, but at the same time, I dared them to attack us, because I knew we'd kick the shit out of them.

Slowly, ever so slowly, as I matured, I realized that morality is not really relative and that strength was a really good thing for a country to have. Many of my friends made fun of the man - they thought he was a moron - mostly because he had been in a movie with a chimp, I suppose.

Anyway, since President passed away last Saturday, every time I turn on the TV or listen to the radio or look at the internet, I find myself tearing up.

Today, I had lunch at an Italian restaurant - I was by myself, so I sat at the bar. The TV was on - Nancy Reagan (who I once mocked for staring so lovingly at her husband) was ever so slowly climbing the steps to the plane that took her and President Reagan to Washington. Another eating-alone woman was sitting next to me, and she commented on Mrs. Reagan, "she always loved her husband so much, it does seem they could make it easier on her and somehow not make her climb those steps. After all, President Reagan did so much for all of us" - and I turned and looked at the woman speaking and realized that she was a woman of color - but all the newspeople keep saying that African Americans and Hispanics and everyone else hated President Reagan - perhaps they are wrong?

Then tonight, I watched the ceremony at the Rotunda. I cried when they sang God Bless America. I cried when the wreaths were laid. I cried when Mrs. Reagan walked to the casket and patted it reassuringly. As everyone left, and they played The Heavens Declare ... ( I sang the alto part in high school), I sobbed even more.

Now, why am I in tears? Partly because my dad was just a couple of years younger than Presidend Reagan, and I miss my dad, and my dad absolutely adored President Reagan. Partly because as I have aged, I have come to appreciate what President Reagan did for the US. And partly because of the insensitive louts who are mocking President Reagan and calling him evil just so they can get some attention.

Anyway. I'm oversharing. Take care, all.

Posted by Beth at June 9, 2004 08:13 PM