President Ronald Reagan died on June 5th at the age 93. It is never a good thing when someone dies.
The worst thing about being human is we have a life cycle. We are born, we live, then we die. The second worst thing about being human is we don’t know how our lives will turn out or how or when we will die. That lack of knowledge and control strikes fear in all of us. Although we know we have a finite life cycle we really don’t want it to come to an end. Even most Christians who claim their actions are so they will get to heaven in an “afterlife” aren’t all that anxious to get there.
Reagan found out he had Alzheimer’s disease about 10 years ago. The end of his life came in a fog to him where he didn’t remember his loved ones or the events of his life. It was if he was a lost person wondering around. Not much of a life to live for him or his loved ones who were shut out.
All of the media and political leaders have been saying many kind things about Reagan. It is traditional to say kind words about someone who has just died even if they are enemies.
As President, Reagan was a dyed blue conservative. When he was elected in 1980, he got the conservative movement on to the “A” list and that begat the lack of compassion and the “we’ve got ours so screw you” form of politics that we have had to put up with for 24 years. Talk radio, the loss of Union influence, NAFTA, and the continued efforts to mix religion and politics all started with Reagan.
In all the gushing words heard this weekend, some facts about Reagan were not expressed. In the early 1950’s as President of the Screen Actors Guild, he was an informant to the House Un-American Committee, naming names of suspected Communists in Hollywood; as Governor of California, sent the National Guard to UC Berkeley to quell student riots and said “If they want a blood bath I’ll give them a blood bath”; traded weapons for Hostages; began the fantasy StarWars defense system; made ketchup a vegetable for school lunch programs; got very cozy with the Moral Majority and started the so-called “culture war”; and wrongly took credit for having “won” the Cold War.
Biographer Lou Cannon also said that by the time Reagan ascended to the presidency, “his mind was filled with movie scenes more vivid to him than many actual events.” Reagan judged stories to be told “by their impact rather than their accuracy.”
At best he was a cheerleader and host rather than a leader.
By the end of the 2nd term you could tell he was not all there.