June 06, 2004

Thank You.

I believe the tears are gone for now. Watching the same few video clips over and over again while a handful of talking heads supposed and surmised served first to overwhelm, and then to numb the ache in my heart.

Some will read that first paragraph and shake their heads and cluck their tongues at what they will call "misplaced," "inappropriate" or "disproportionate" grief. I will argue that, as no one can know what is in my heart or why except, ocaissionally, me.

I was born in 1957, at the last frayed edge of the Baby Boom, a child without a generation. I spent my defining years in the company of the families of men who served their country bravely and selflessly in uniforms of deep, abiding blue. The Pledge of Allegience was a part of my daily routine before the Lord's Prayer.

I was a dinosaur, even as a child, the antithesis of everything I walked into when, after the retirement of my father, we moved away from the structure and safety of the military and into civilian life in Indiana. It was 1968, and what had been relatively small movement of rebellion confined to college campuses and larger cities was suddenly made glamorous and "In" by movie stars, musicians, and glossy and prestigeous news magazines. A person wasn't "Cool" if they didn't show distain for the flag, the country, or the people who fought to defend and protect us through their protection of them.

But I knew better. I had lived with these people all of my life, and I knew that what was being said against these people was wrong, dead wrong. I had never met a "baby killer" in uniform, and I knew that even the atrocities that made the news in lurid detail were singularities, isolated events, blips on a screen and not the status quo. But I was just a child, an adolescent, a young teen. And I had been "tainted" by my parents, their values, their contributions, and the upbringing they had "inflicted" upon me.

The 1976 presidential election was the first election in which I could legally cast a ballot, and I did. I was 19 years old, and already jaded and bitter by a process I saw as corrupted by the fancy and folly of idiots and panderers, naive idealists and mercenary PACs with no vision beyond their immediate political gratification.

But then, in 1980, there was a candidate that didn't deride my values. He held in honor the sacrifices of our military. He wanted young families to be able to have their own homes without having to save for years to be able to afford the down payment, and without having to pay mortgage rates that were rapidly approaching 20%. He wanted wage earners to be able to keep more of their money every week to better the living standards of their families. And he loved the country unapologetically, just like my parents did, just like they had taught me to love my home.

The 1980 election was the first election in which I was truly vested. I was certainly never politically active, and remain that way today. But this man and his obvious love for his country, his countrymen, and his family, spoke to me much the way John Kennedy spoke to my sainted grandmother in 1960.

Ronald Reagan spoke to me in ways that no politician had spoken to me before, or has spoken to me since. I owe a great deal to that man, things I could never repay. He gave me back my pride. He legitmized my patriotism. He taught me that not only can you hold people to a higher standard, you are obligated to do so, and that you cannot do so without setting your own standard even higher. And he taught me that you cannot take yourself so seriously that you cannot see the grace and humor in others.

I am a better person today because of his presidency. I say that and I absolutely believe it. I am no longer the cultural dinosaur that I was lead to believe that I was by the dithering throngs throughout my adolesence and teen years.

Thank You, Presidient Reagan, for your contribution to the geo-political make-up of the world, to the slow return to sanity in this country, and to this one woman's life.

Update: For the thoughts of many others, travel to the Politburo. The Commissar has set up what could only be called a "Condolence Book" post.

Posted by Mamamontezz at June 6, 2004 12:45 PM

Ronald Reagan was one of the two best presidents of the last century. Very few in the present lineup are worthy of shining his shoes. God rest his soul and bless his survivors.

Posted by: Jack at June 6, 2004 06:13 PM

poker me up

Posted by: poker me up at December 30, 2004 02:31 PM

Cum summam patrimoni insculpere saxo!

Posted by: vimax at April 8, 2005 05:47 PM
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