When you are home on the rare weekend where you do not have work, one gets to thinking about things. It’s great to sleep in but the excitement of waking up in a free country that is filled with grace and beauty and has, under God’s blessing, been such a light for the world causes an excitement that gets me up long before my family and puts me to bed many hours after they are sound asleep.
Often I think of the America I grew up in under Ronald Reagan, who left office thirty years ago this week, and what would he say about things today and our current president. For the young people who may read this it was great to grow up in America in the 1980s and though I was not even a teenager as yet, nearly all of us who were children knew that we were a part of something special. Even those who did not personally like Reagan knew it.
The Reagan effect in turning around America was so great that even the pop culture reflected it. Yes, we had MTV (at a time when it still played videos) but Rocky IV was one giant music video against the evils of the Soviet Union. Stars sang We Are The World but never would they have taken a knee against America or its people. And the Rock n Wrestling connection would not have had Hulkamania without his pinning of The Iron Sheik, who hailed from a nemesis greater than even the Soviet Union, at the most famous Arena, in America’s largest city, at the beginning of the year of Reagan’s record breaking re-election, 1984.
It was a special time and no one doubted Reagan’s love for America. The Soviet Union certainly knew it and deeply feared it. Iran feared him too as evidenced by our hostages being released on the first day of his presidency. It was like having your grandfather as president though in many ways he seemed more like a father. You did not mess with this country and you knew he would do everything he could to protect you. And deep down you knew he was right. He is in an even better place now. He is with his mother who modeled the faith for him. He is with his father who taught his son hard work and who later redeemed himself in giving up the bottle. He is with the Jesus whom he said will “sooth our hearts, heal our sorrows, drive away our fears.”
So what to do in fighting for President Trump while remembering the one whom Peggy Noonan called “The Old Man of St. Cloud Road?”
Obviously, myself and millions of Americans remember that time of Reagan with great fondness. Even Obama had to speak highly of Reagan in recent years but we cannot long for a past that can never be. While things were more civil in the 1980s, we should remember that not everyone loved Reagan. Reagan was mocked by the media, a young Barack Obama, and others with their worldview. They questioned nearly everything to include his age, competence, intelligence, and even his beautiful heart. However, President Trump is loathed by the same media and the attacks on him, and his family, are sadly all those that Reagan saw and then some.
Donald Trump has given up nearly everything for America. He has given back to the nation that built him up, even if the media personally tears him down. He could have lived retirement in luxury but instead he gives what could have been his retirement years to service, just like the Man on St. Cloud Road. Trump’s wealth could have been even greater if he had not run for president, like Reagan, but instead he risked his elder years, his businesses and even, owing to the uncivility seen today, the welfare of his family for this nation and its people. Even Hillary understood that President Trump loves his family deeply. As an astute observer of politics for years, Trump would not have risked them if he did not deeply and passionately love America and its people.
Knowing that, I think the First Father of our youth would be cheering President Trump and Americans on, saying trust but verify, and reminding us of the alternative; increasingly socialistic and yes, atheistic policies of the left and their maligning of Americans who hold values that have sustained great nations and peoples for thousands of years. He would cheer a president who showed the left up on their double standards and took all the safety and luxury that America has to offer while refusing the same to its people.
Now it is up to us. We have to defend Reagan’s principles of freeing our people by having much more limited government, giving our great and generous people more of their money back, and having a strong defense. We need to remain steadfast in our support for Israel and the Jewish people. We need to encourage a culture of life. These things President Trump is doing.
Regarding the Reagan years, to quote another Sylvester Stallone film from the 1980s, “That was another time.” In many respects it feels like a farewell as the months and years now turn into decades ago. But we can always, and should, remember our past while driving into the future. Reagan told us that in both his Farewell Address and Challenger Address. Lincoln, too, remembered the past and its principles while fondly recalling “Four score and seven years ago.”
Perhaps a parallel is Washington and Lincoln, figures whom we learned about with near reverence as children when it was still fashionable to do so. Washington gave us the Shining City and indeed, birthed it more than any other person. He was revered and respected by nearly all political stripes. But it was Lincoln who fulfilled the vision during its infancy through blood, sweat, and tears.
In remembering our past and this great man of my youth, I think of my young son who is an immigrant and is a few years older than I was when Reagan left office. He chose his American name to honor Ronald Reagan and is growing up under President Trump. Reagan gave us the vision but President Trump is finishing that vision for him, myself, and all Americans.