Sunday, June 06, 2004

The farewell that ought to have been

It is often regrettable when we express our first thoughts without a pause for a second thought. It seems I have committed this offense in my first expression of my thoughts of the passing of Ronald Reagan.

When a man grows up and attains a worldview of his own he often puts away the heroes of his youth. The figures that loomed so large to the growing mind often shrink once a man becomes aware of the world and begins feeling his way toward his own identity. This is not always the case. John Wayne was a boyhood hero of mine; he still looms large for his portrayals of what a man ought to be.

Ronald Reagan was of course another hero of my formative years. During the 1990’s I became extremely disillusioned with the party that Reagan helped to galvanize. I often thought back to the promise and the hope that Reagan himself inspired in so many of America’s true conservatives and I was saddened by the reality that we had achieved none of our goals. Instead those of us that of the conservative ilk had wedded ourselves to the leadership of the neo cons and for so long so many blindly followed where they led. So often it seemed to me that the cause of conservatism was lost. I blamed this in large part on Reagan for it was he that first shined the light of hope our way and rallied the troops around what we thought was our cause.

Today I watched on CSPAN Reagan’s speech to the 1993 Republican Convention. Considering the then not well known deterioration of his mental condition this speech was one of his finest. It was so to speak a capstone event; a speech befitting a retiring and victorious conqueror just returned from foreign lands and headed off to green pastures and a deserved retirement. In a very true sense this is what was happening that day. Reagan had lead America out of the mediocrity of the 1970’s and in 1992 we emerged as the worlds single Empire. He had vanquished his foe.

No matter what I may feel now about the conservative hope and promise never realized by the Reagan revolution and no matter what may be said about the inherent wrong that exists in Americas’ path toward Empire I must say that even still Reagan moves me. As I watched the 1992 speech I understood full well why the man became such a hero of mine way back then. He made you feel good, he gave you hope, he talked about the future as a bright and shining destination. He was the great communicator.

It is for future discussion to determine what the events of the 80’s and 90’s will mean. For now it is sufficient to say that Ronald Reagan was a great man. Great in the sense that any man that significantly influences the course of events disproportionate to the position he holds is great. Reagan did that. He inspired a nation to follow his vision and he succeeded in defeating the enemies he saw before him.

Disagree now as much as I might with the path he placed us on I am still inspired by the man. I shall miss and mourn him.

Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem
El Cid

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