Stephen says it best: “as a kid, Reagan was the very definition of a president.” I was 9 when Ronald Reagan was elected. My family was very much Republican at the time (my Dad worked on George W. Bush’s 1980 presidential bid), and I liked Reagan. I remember playing in Scott Prudhomme’s front yard when Reagan was shot, and then watching his mom react to the TV reports and try to explain to us what was going on.
I loved that Reagan was not afraid to be proud of the country, proud of our ambition, and proud of our legacy. I loved that when you listened to his speeches, regardless of your age, you knew what he was talking about. He was the great communicator. And while his acting background has been the butt of many a joke, I think it was always one of his real assets: he understood what we wanted a President to be. He understood the importance of image, and presentation. And that played in many directions: not just at home, but abroad.
The reality: nuclear war felt like a very real reality in 1980. It’s no longer a threat. Communism was a threat. No more. There were two super-powers, now there’s one.
Reagan left his mark on us, and through his conviction and his vision laid a foundation on which the progress of the next 20 years were built.
I will grieve during his funeral. He was a man who dedicated much of his adult life to public service, something I have a tremendous amount of respect for. While I have many disagreements with the overly conservative principles on which his domestic policy was based, I do not for a minute doubt his conviction or the mark he left on our country.
We have had just 43 Presidents in our history. We lost one today, and he will be missed. This isn’t about politics, it’s about respect for the office and for the man. He served us well, knew when to follow his instinct, and knew when not to listen to his advisors. He was a leader, and on the balance I think we are the better for his leadership.