(Who wouldn’t like this guy who always appeared affable? Then, too, he seemed to really like being President. Was it just an act?)
OK, I admit it: I was confused. Months ago I was in a supermarket and there before me, in the display rack (along with People magazine and the Enquirer) a news magazine cover screamed out the caption: “Reagan at 100,” and I must say: For a moment, I was perplexed, even commented to my companion: “Didn’t Reagan die?”
Maybe it’s because I’m older but when I hear reference to former famous people (actors, actresses, politicians) who used to occupy front pages of tabloids, I wonder “Are they still alive?” I know I’m not alone because there’s a specific website designated to answering just that question. It stands to reason we’d want one of those reference sites: The longer one lives, the greater the likelihood others have predeceased.
But, of course, I knew that Reagan had died.
This obvious ploy at sucking up interest via a title (and it worked) reminded me of all those alleged Elvis sightings where people were sure they saw the King of Rock. Oh, he didn’t die of a drug overdose. That was merely a rich rumor circulated by those wishing to stop the endless speculation. Some naïve followers truly believed he was closeted away somewhere, for the truth was too harsh. They simply couldn’t accept that he’d exited this world.
That same phenomenon happens with Ronald Reagan. His followers exhort his principles and have even coined an economics plan based on his beliefs–Reagonomics. In death, the man’s become an even larger presence, and I think I know why.
Ronald Reagan was a man certain of his stance on things. He had that deep-seated belief that each of us would respond to a higher power–if only given the opportunity. That’s why he fervently believed in the trickle-down theory (Let the rich keep more of their money in the belief they’ll pump it back into the system as they expand their businesses, hire more people, etc.)
He might have based his belief system on philanthropic actions of those captains of industry (the Carnegies, the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts ) of the early 20th. century who did that very thing. Yes, they ripped into their competitors, reducing them to rubble, but in an era of negligible taxation (it’s why the rich owned palatial residences like those in Newport, RI), many of them did improve their world. In that instance, they contributed vast sums to colleges, libraries, and hospitals.
So it’s understandable, as with the legions of Elvis supporters, that Reagan has his inveterate diehards (pun intended.)
But today, most of the mega-rich appear far less interested in improving the lot of their fellows as they do in plumping their own fortunes. That’s why they’ve ceased doing business in America. Former jobs have gone overseas and outsourcing has become the rule, rather than the exception.
They’re ruled by their profit margins… not what’s best for America (and maybe that was one and the same in an earlier era.)
After all, there are none of the troubles there that trip them up here: Unions are non-existent; minimum wage is a non-entity; workers are just happy for the work and don’t demand benefits.
Was Ronald Reagan a good man? Yes, I believe so, for he fervently believed in his heart that people were good souls, sometimes trapped in difficult situations. That’s why he challenged the Russian Premier to “Take down that wall (the one dividing East and West Berlin,) Mr. Grobachev.”
And that’s probably why Gorbachev complied. He, too, fell under the Reagan sway.
I believe Ronald Reagan was that rare individual who comes along and taps into an almost universal consciousness. But, contrary to popular belief, he wasn’t the exception: Many of our finest leaders have successfully challenged others to follow a higher purpose (John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King).
He never vacillated but remained resolute in his belief that given the opportunity, others will rise to a higher plane and do the right thing. What was his finest “performance”? The Presidency. He gave us all an unflappable leader who never veered from his guiding principles. In retrospect, why would he? Those same principles guided him as he worked his way through college, then propelled him into movie stardom, and finally resulted in his becoming leader of the Free World.
“Rest in peace, President Reagan.”
P.S. As an aside, I seldom speak politics here on the Biddy Bytes site (because I talk “encouragement,”) but that doesn’t keep me from honoring a man I believe had admirable qualities (even if I disagreed with his politics.)
(Now, here’s the site where you can find out if a famous person is dead or alive..but remember–it only tells about ‘famous’ people. If you get on the list in the future, it’ll be because you’ve carved a considerable niche in the world.):