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  • Reagan Roundtable – The Lightweight

    Posted by Dan from Madison on February 6th, 2011 (All posts by )

    I am very much looking forward to the contributions that we will be getting here on the Reagan Roundtable. I am sure there will be some excellent reading to come.

    I am without a doubt an intellectual lightweight when it comes to the topic and this entry will no doubt be one of the weakest of the Reagan Roundtable, but I did live through the time and would like to share a few thoughts.

    I was 12 when Reagan got elected and the one thing that I noticed right off the bat was that it was “cool” to be an American again. Flags started to be flown more. Reagan told us repeatedly that yes, things were hosed up, but that was OK. We were Americans and we could fix it. We could fix anything. It was OK to like God. It was good to salute our military members.

    We were going to take on the Russians and win. I remember asking my dad when I was a young boy if the Russians would blow us up. He always himmed and hawed with his answers. I asked him the same thing after Reagan got elected. My dad said “no way”. “Reagan won’t mess around with them.”

    When Reagan was elected, my dad was struggling with his business. He would make his payments but interest rates were so high that he was going in the hole. By the time Reagan was gone and in the aftermath, things were calmed down and his business was doing very well and is to this day. He still thanks Reagan for that. It may or may not be true, but that is what he thinks and so be it.

    Reagan was the last president and the only one in my short 42 years on this earth that I was proud to have. I have a picture of him hanging on a wall in my office.

    I took off work to watch his services when he died. I also cried a bit. I don’t cry very often. I will probably take a few minutes today to thank him in private.

    Well, that is my short personal story, I will make room now for the other contributors and panel members to dig much deeper than my post.


    7 Responses to “Reagan Roundtable – The Lightweight”

    1. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Touching and engaging, Dan, thank you.

      And stop it with the Self-deprecation already. ;)

    2. Dan from Madison Says:

      Thanks Ralf – not self-depreciating, rather being honest.

    3. Zenpundit Says:

      “I was 12 when Reagan got elected and the one thing that I noticed right off the bat was that it was “cool” to be an American again”

      I remember this shift too. We’re about the same age and the 70’s had not been kind to the US – a very depressing period, psychologically and economically. Reagan helped bring a change of spirit about, but also benefitted from it tremendously. It was one reason Reagan’s political clout ran deep even in a Democratically controlled House of Reps, where he regualrly had a quarter or a third of Democrats voting with the Republicans. Sometimes more.

    4. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Dan, some people express their intelligence in words, others in deeds.

    5. Dan from Madison Says:

      Zen – the 70’s were a very punishing time to be an American, I agree. When Reagan was elected it was a huge breath of fresh air even for me, just a kid at the time. I imagine it was even a bigger moment for adults.

    6. onparkstreet Says:

      Dan – I love this sort of personal reflection. I think it’s the perfect thing to write.

      (A little later in the week I’ll contribute, and I think I will write about Nancy Reagan visiting my junior high school in 1982. Growing up in Iowa meant lots of visits by candidates, their spouses, and sometimes, first ladies :)

      Brian Lamb was interviewing Robert Sameulson and Robert Sameulson said something interesting: the economic growth of the 80s onward made our society a little bit, well, we took things for granted. We didn’t keep house well. We started off on the right foot and then just assumed economic growth happens no matter how little you tend the garden.)

      – Madhu

    7. onparkstreet Says:

      Correlction to last paragraph: Brian Lamb was interviewing Robert Sameulson on C-SPAN….

      Again, touching Dan.

      – Madhu