This week’s post will challenge both folks whose politics are to the political right and those whose politics are to the political left. It’s a link to the entry in the Bibliography With Commentary section of the website about H.W. Brands’ biography of President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan’s politics were more conservative than mine (though his politics when he was younger–and by younger, I mean as late as when he was in his mid-Thirties–were more liberal than mine).
The link to the entry is challenging to people on the political right because the myths that have grown up around President Reagan distort the substance of his politics and understate his willingness to compromise. The link to the entry is challenging to people on the political left because they tend to demonize President Reagan as the politician who successfully recalibrated American politics in a conservative direction, which is indeed what he did. But President Reagan does not deserve to be demonized, which I think is clear from reading the linked post. (President Nixon, whose politics were way less conservative than President Reagan’s, is in my opinion someone who deserves to be demonized.)
President Reagan was also a gentleman. (See the paragraphs below from this week’s linked entry.) The contrast with the current occupant of the White House and what has been going on in Hollywood (both worlds which President Reagan inhabited), evidences what has been lost along the dysfunctional path our politics and society have taken…
From the linked entry:
‘Brands quotes extensively from a letter Reagan sent to an old friend from his hometown of Dixon, Illinois who had lost her husband in World War II and been left alone with a young son. She felt she had lost her one true love. Reagan wrote,
“Can you believe that God means for millions of really young people to go on through life alone because a war robbed them of their first loves?…A girl’s judgment of [a man] should be based only on his respect for her wishes…Love can grow slowly out of warmth and companionship and none of us should be afraid to seek it…Now I am going to seal this letter very quickly and mail it because if I read it over I won’t have the nerve to send it.” [emphasis original]
A person could be forgiven for noticing the difference in the feelings and values expressed above by President Reagan and those of too many politicians today…’
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