June 8, 2004
Reagan (Or, A Liberal's Startling Admission)
I'm a liberal. This should not come as a great shock to you, especially those of you who've caught some of my politically motivated rants. And while I don't really want to get caught up in the entire Reagan wave that's sweeping the nation, I did want to share a little secret. As surprising as it may be, I had a lot of respect for the guy.
Reagan's economic and social policies were disasterous. He almost single-handedly brought about an unemployment rate second only to that of the Great Depression. He supported the rich and largely ignored the poor. He tripled the defecit, traded arms for hostages and invented voodoo economics. But, growing up in the eighties, as I did, the idea of an American president was almost synonymous with Reagan. In classrooms across America, three presidential portraits graced the walls - Washington, Lincoln and Reagan. When he got shot, my entire class sent letters and jellybeans. And he replied too - or at least someone in the White House did.
While he was urging the Soviets to tear down walls, while he was pushing star wars defense systems, Reagan began what would become a nine year correspondence with a small boy in Southeast Washington DC. Over the course of their conversations they touched on almost everything. Reagan advised the boy on the best techniques to make up with his best friend. He even explained the Challenger disaster. Every year, they exchanged Christmas and birthday gifts.
I like to think of our leaders as real people - real people who, while they have egos and are often misdirected, are compassionate, caring people. So, while my politics are radically different, I'm not at all troubled by the fact that, when someone talks about the American presidency, the first image that comes to mind is Reagan.Posted by Chris at June 8, 2004 8:33 AM