The Great One.
These and many other terms of endearment have been, and will be bandied about over the next week. Even his old enemies seem effusive in their praise of Reagan the man, if not Reagan the politician. Of course there are the LLL who don't even have the class to keep quiet rather than speak ill of the dead, but that is a topic for another day.
The two men in this world whom I've admired the most were my father, and Ronald Reagan. They both greatly influenced who I am today. My father passed on over three years ago now; yet, even though I've expected this for a long time, and didn't even know the man personally, I find myself hit almost as hard by the President's passing.
When I was in high school, I was a perfect candidate for membership in the Democrat Party. Pacifist, anti-war, pro-abortion, etc. Those were the Carter years, with double-digit inflation, marginal tax rates of 75%, the Iran Hostage Crisis, and the Misery Index(!).
Election Year 1980 marked the end of my junior year and the beginning of my senior year in high school. As I heard more of what Mr. Reagan had to say, the scales started falling, oh so slowly, from my eyes. What concepts! Personal responsibility, small government, an optimism about the future, peace through strength. I was only 17 that year, so I couldn't cast a vote for him, but by November there were Reagan-Bush '80 bumper stickers an my little blue Pinto, and I was proselytizing for the Reagan Revolution at every opportunity.
Going through high school, I had no idea what I would do as an adult, and really saw no reason to. After all, the world would probably be a radioactive cinder by the time I reached twenty. When I graduated, I had no direction. But as I grew up from teenager to adult, the President's attitudes started to take hold in my life.
I ended up joining the U.S. Air Force, and I was honored to have Ronald Reagan as my Commander-in-Chief. I proudly cast my first Presidential vote for him in 1984.
As the Reagan Revolution moved forward, so did opportunity. I work today in the IT industry, supporting my family with a decent income. I am entirely self-taught. I have owned my own business in the past, and I will do so again within the next few years. I have learned that you cannot wait for the world to give you a break; If you can't find an opportunity, then you make one. If you fall on your face, don't whine about it; get up and keep on going. No matter what storms come your way, if you lean into it and push through, and look to the Lord for your strength, you will make it to the other side.
Mr. Reagan, thank you. Thank you for helping make this a land of opportunity again. Thank you for your example.
This election year, our choices are nearly the same as in 1980: strength, self-reliance, and optimism; or flip-flops, UN cow-towing, and cynicism.
The Reagan Revolution continues. Let's win this one for the Gipper!
crossposted at Confessions of a Jesus Phreak