Mar 7, 201608:31 AMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Can America in 2016 learn from Nancy and Ron?
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Retail has been said to be location, location, location (at least, before e-commerce.) Of politics, timing is everything.
So, it was Nancy Reagan’s time. The gift of 94 years is a bountiful blessing. Does God work in mysterious ways? Is meaning to be found in the passing of a great first lady at this critical juncture in our nation’s political life?
The news and social media will be flooded these next days with reminiscences of that golden age, a period of hope and accomplishment after the privations and defeats of the Jimmy Carter years.
Your humble blogguer remembers the exultation so many of us felt, even as he was surrounded in the newsroom of The Capital Times by professional doomsayers who defended the Malthusian malaise as the new reality. The Madison intelligentsia blamed America first. They looked to Europe for salvation, advocated socialism to divvy up an ever-dwindling pie. The naysayers ridiculed “trickle-down economics” but the president sworn into office in January 1981 tamed double-digit inflation and ended gasoline lines. America was hiring. It was indeed morning in America.
The intelligentsia scoffed at Reagan — he was a lightweight actor, not a man who saw clearly a vision of that shining city on a hill. Reagan spoke with the blunt force of truth. The Soviet Union was indeed an Evil Empire. Bob Kastenmeier, Dane County’s career man in Washington, said such language would unsettle relations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. But that was the idea. They called him a warmonger, this president who would end the Cold War and bring political and economic freedom to nations locked for a generation behind the Iron Curtain.
He had failed, they said of this president, for walking away from a bad deal at Reykjavik. Some candidates today think they are negotiators. Others tout their diplomatic chops. Ronald Reagan was the real deal. He got the better deal he knew was gettable; he took the world back from the nuclear precipice.
The Great Communicator was as civil as his critics were shrill. There was never a whiff of rumor that he ever profited from government service. His humor never came at another’s expense. He could laugh at himself — even when shot and wounded (“I forgot to duck”) — because he was comfortable in his own skin. Humility ennobles.