Donald McClarey has a birthday today. I’ll leave it to his post to disclose the age. A very happy day’s wishes.
He also shares his birthday with former president Ronald Reagan. As the son of two Reagan democrats, I never idolized Reagan. I heard plenty of criticisms from my parents growing up. But they also gave credit where it was due.
Then again, the rest of their family remained staunch Democrats who refused to vote for him in either election. Nonetheless, they liked him personally. And, on the rare occasion they thought he did right, they gave credit where it was due.
Almost like a different world. A world where Tip O’Neil defined obstructionism in a way that would shame young whippersnappers today, and yet when Reagan outmaneuvered him through leadership, the two shook hands and could have gone out for beers for all it looked.
Again, a far cry from today. Sure there was rancor then, and the younger generation was making it clear that these were not disagreements, these were battles for the heart and soul of America; opinions as a conflict between good and evil here at home. Which probably explains the ongoing disintegration of tone in our politics.Nonetheless, I’ve grown more fond of Reagan over the years. History can be tough, since we look at things through the lens of history. We know how things turned out. But I remember how dim and dismal things were in the late 70s: economy plummeting, society unraveling, our international standing diminishing, and the assumption that the Cold War would eventually end with the annihilation of humanity. Compared to that, the end of the 80s didn’t look bad at all.
So happy birthday Mr. Reagan, and Mr. McClarey, too. Check out The American Catholic for a rehash of Reagan’s wit and charm.