Monday, June 07, 2004

Reagan Dies

After hearing the news of Ronald Reagan’s death, I was stirred with conflicting emotions. First, I reflected on what a tragic end it might have been for Nancy to watch Ronald deteriorate into an abyss of nothingness, debilitated by Alzheimer's . Second, I recalled what had been those nascent moments of my youth when, being all too naïve, I held a partial affinity for President Regan. And now, it is being revealed that Mr. Regan was, in fact, a man of letters, and a closet intellectual, to boot. Indeed, at the time of his Presidency I was much too young to appreciate his biting witticism and his charming manner;but, still, there was an endearing quality about him that transcended age. Reagan was also a cut-up and had incredible comic timing, honing his skills during his time as an actor in Hollywood.

Nevertheless, when I came of age and became more familiar with the politics, history, and economics of the 20th century, I was nettled by the social and economic realities of Reagan’s domestic policies. Despite his assiduous and vital efforts to bring about the end of Soviet Communism and the Cold War, I can’t help but to cringe when I asses his domestic policy: Reagenomics—or more loosely, supply side economics—which championed massive tax cuts and increased military spending nearly sunk the federal treasury. Regan was steadfast in his vision of smaller government, attempting, many thought, to efface the role of government created by FDR’s New Deal, Truman’s Fair Deal, and LBJ’s Great Society.

Far from lifting America up, Reagenomics shifted the tax burden more onerously on the middle class; deregulated natural public trusts that where now free, as private entities, to flout public health and employment standards; created the largest deficit in US history; and brought levels of unemployment unseen since the great depression—this isn’t even to speak of the staggeringly high rates of inflation, which had serious implications both domestically and internationally.

Yet, knowing all this, it’s difficult not to admire the man. Holding so strongly to his personal convictions, Regan literally willed himself to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. If nothing else, as I see it, Ronald Reagan is a testament to the historical fact that individuals do matter. Never can it be said that the historical progression of events and circumstances are beyond the grasp and will of individuals: Individuals matter. And Ronald Reagan was a historical personality that, regardless of your political affiliation, mattered—but, as an aside, this isn’t such a bold statement because he was, after all, the President of the United States


Anonymous said...

You spelled quality wrong.

No I am not the grammar police.

I think I find it ironic.

Or is it pun?


Brian said...

You talk as if Reaganomics was not a success. It was! That was why people gave him such an astounding affirmation in 1984.

Everybody but the leftiest of the lefties liked Reagan and liked his policies. That is how he won liberal strongholds like Massachussetts. Republicans don't do that by doing all the horrible things you describe.

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