Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not, and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. . . . He put us on a fundamentally different path, because the country was ready for it … he tapped into what people were already feeling, which is we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism, and entrepreneurship that had been missing.
Like many fans of the greatest domestic policy president of the last century, I’ve been trying to find an appropriate way to remember/honor this great man on the centennial of his birth.
Many have written eloquently about his nature, his background, his political philosophy and his accomplishments. Others are planning magnificent celebrations. We here at GayPatriot are putting together a small event in Los Angeles. E-mail me for details.
Yet, as I remember this marvelous man, two things stand one, first, his love for Nancy. He was born good, but she made him great. And the second thing perhaps stands out because of the times we’re in and the solutions his successor (in the White House) has proposed. In contrast to the incumbent chief executive, Ronald Reagan knew in his heart that Americans didn’t need the heavy hand of the state to get them out of an economic mess. Indeed, he believed that it was the heavy hand of the state which got them into that mess — and which was preventing them from finding a means of egress.
“Government,” he reminded us in his first inaugural address, ” is not the solution to the problem. Government is the problem”:
Seems that the ideals which define the Tea Party parallel nearly perfectly those put forward so eloquently by the Great Communicator.
Ronald Reagan had great faith in his fellow Americans. He didn’t believe in seeking solutions in Washington, D.C., but in the ingenuity of the American people, in factories in Ohio, farms in Iowa, labs in North Carolina and yes, even in garages in California.
The Gipper had confidence in the American ideal, belief in American exceptionalism and was convinced that America’s best days were ahead. Oh, and, he had a deep and enduring love for Loyal Davis‘s little girl.
Perhaps I’m wrong and it wouldn’t have made a difference if Tyler Clementi had had an older gay friend or mentor to whom he could turn in his moment of mental anguish.
To be sure, it’s not just this story that makes me think of mentoring. The issue of mentoring has been much on my mind since I first started wrestling with my sexuality. The first gay “role model” I had was perhaps one of the most negative influences on my life and on my family as well. And I always wondered if my coming out would have been any smoother had I met an older gay man capable of showing any compassion for my particular situation.
It is perhaps due in large part to his (negative) influence that I was so drawn to the goddess Athene when I read, re-read and listened to the Odyssey in the years after college and in the course of my graduate studies in Mythology. Her gentle guidance stood in stark contrast to his arrogant indifference. She both helps the hero’s son Telemachus find his first (male) friend — and facilitates his reconciliation with his own father. It’s as if Homer knew that we human beings need divine guidance to navigate the treacherous waters when we first leave home and find our way in the world.
This story has stirred up so much with so many of us, in large part because we see ourselves in this young man, recalling the awkwardness of our freshman year in college, our first year away from home, when our aspirations often (unbeknownst to us at the time) conflicted with one another, finding our way in the world while seeking to belong in a new (and often) foreign environment.
Perhaps, the mentor issue comes to my mind because of my own experiences. And other things surely must come to mind to other individuals, gay and straight alike.
The bottom question we need to ask is what can we do to make that journey less treacherous for young men and young women who differ from the social norm. [Read more…]
Perhaps, it was reading about the paucity of men and women with experience in the real-world of job creation coupled with this article about Donald Berwick’s associations last night that caused me to take note of this fragment from Sophocles’ play about the “lesser” Ajax:
Kings are wise because of the company of wise men.
Would it not then follow that kings become fools with the company of foolish men? Haven’t I seen something like this in Proverbs before?
INSPIRED BY THE COMMENTS: Gene in Pennsylvania reminded me of something else I had seen on the web related to this post:
Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Sunday that President Obama’s political advisers are out of touch with average Americans and need to “spend some time outside Washington.”
“The people around the president have really misjudged what goes on elsewhere in the country, other than Washington,” Dean told Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I don’t think this is true of the president, but I do think his people, his political people, have got to go out and spend some time outside Washington for a while.”
But, Howard, by Sophocles’ standards, Obama is out of touch with the rest of the country.
PACIFIC OCEAN (July 24, 2010) The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) transits the Pacific Ocean with ships assigned to Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 combined task force as part of a photo exercise north of Hawaii. RIMPAC, the world’s largest multinational maritime exercise is a biennial event which allows participating nations to work together to build trust and enhance partnerships needed to improve maritime security. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord/Released)
Awesome photo! I wonder if the USS Obama will be an oil skimming boat?
Last week, Roger Simon asked a question which has kept me thinking well into this one, “Does Barack Obama want to be president?”
Ever since viewing his depressing and disconnected “energy” speech last week, I have been mulling whether Barack Obama actually wants to be president anymore. That was an address given by a man who looked very much like he didn’t want to be there, didn’t want to continue. He appeared slumped and worn, as if he aged eighteen years in eighteen months. His demeanor was oddly distracted.
I am not being metaphorical here — I am quite serious. The more I have thought about this, the more I am convinced Barack Obama no longer wishes to be president. The degree that he admits this to himself, I am not sure. But I rather suspect that in the small hours of the morning he fantasizes he were anywhere but 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And who could blame him?
Now, much as I admire, respect and just plain like Roger (having met him and his lovely bride Sheryl) on numerous occasions, I have to disagree with him on this one–even as I think he’s onto something with his question and his post. (Just read the whole thing.)
Roger’s right that Obama didn’t seem very engaged in that speech, treating it as most of us would treat a visit to a grouchy relative, an obligation we must perform to keep up appearances. The president just plain seems frustrated by the unexpected crises a chief executive must face. He’d rather give speeches and otherwise get the adulation of his fans (including especially various assorted celebrities).
Not just that, instead of considering the circumstances of the day, he wants to stick to the big-government agenda he’s been pushing all along. It’s as if nothing has changed since the campaign. (No wonder he and his fellow Democrats stick to their tired bromides about “inherited” problems and “failed [GOP] policies.”) [Read more…]
One notion that comes up frequently on conservative blogs, including this one, about the president’s agenda is that it is nothing new, merely the codifying of various items which have been on various items on the Democratic wish list for the past generation or two (or three).
Just, look at health care, Obama pushed through an overhaul whose unpopularity seemed to grow in direct proportion to the attention he gave to it. And yet even after Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts, largely on public opposition to said legislation, the president persisted in pushing it through Congress — even though the American people made clear they didn’t want it.
He seeks to move public opinion after the legislation has passed, not pass the legislation in response to public outcry. For the president and his Democrats, their agenda trumps the popular will — and the current needs of American society.
A real leader addresses the concerns of the people and responds to circumstances with solutions appropriate to the problem at hand. When crises emerge, he turns his attention to them, working relentlessly at meeting the needs of the day, even putting aside other items on his long-term agenda to do so. See George W. Bush and the attacks of 9/11 or Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Second World War.
“Presidents,” David Paul Kuhn writes at RealClearPolitics, “are hostage to events“:
But that’s a half-truth. Presidencies rise and fall far more by their response to great events than to the event itself.
“Presidents are ultimately judged by how they handle the unexpected,” presidential historian Richard Norton Smith wrote in an email exchange. “JFK may have blown the Bay of Pigs but more than recovered a year later in Cuba. … Just as he moved away from his cautious approach to civil rights as newspaper pictures and TV reports from Birmingham — the equivalent of today’s unstopped pipe at the bottom of the Gulf — made him realize that the presidency is, indeed, ultimately a place of moral leadership.”
Via Instapundit. Emphasis added.
But, when facing the unexpected, Obama has been slow to shift course, preferring to keep his focus on his legislative agenda rather than focus on the unexpected crisis. [Read more…]
Alright, two quick things first:
Point Two: He’s not handled his interactions with the press very well. Perfect example is his confrontation with ABC’s Jonathan Karl we’ve all seen a million times by now. Okay, Karl was asking a very stupid question that Bunning had answered a million times already (see more below) and was just goading him for dramatic effect. But Bunning, someone who’s been in Washington since 1987, should be better at such things.
Okay, now on with the post:
THANK GOD FOR JIM BUNNING
If The Great American Philosopher were here, watching the State of Our Union I do believe he would reflect upon words he wrote hundreds of years ago:
1775 June 26-July 6. “Our attachment to no nation upon earth should supplant our attachment to liberty.” (Declaration of the Causes and Necessity for Taking Up Arms, B.1.215)
1787 Nov. 13. “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” (to W. S. Smith, B.12.356)
I recalled the ‘tree of liberty’ quote when I wrote the James O’Keefe piece yesterday. While luckily no blood was shed, I would submit that O’Keefe did spare some of his individual liberty in the cause of the greater good: protecting the rest of ours.
If only all of us were as brave to stand up to the tyrannical Federal Government that has taken so much of our freedoms away for the past several decades.
Back when I was a lad, every summer our family loaded up the Chevy Suburban (or Ford Van which replaced it) and headed West or Northeast for a camping trip. One year, we visited Wyoming, Montana and Alberta. After hiking i Yellowstone National Park, our parents planned to take us to Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness, but one of my younger brothers took ill. They changed the plans, we headed to Great Falls to seek medical attention.
A visit to a doctor and a few days rest at a local Holiday Inn and soon my brother was back to normal.
The lesson of this anecdote should be familiar to anyone who has found himself in a position of responsibility. When the circumstances change, you need to change your plans. My parents recognized that with my brother’s illness, we could not continue the trip as planned.
So too should Obama recognize that with increasing evidence of a growing terror threat and continuing uncertainty about the economy, he has to turn his attention from regulatory schemes like health care and cap and trade and focus on jobs and national security.
Sometimes, I wonder if the president pushed through such a massive “stimulus” at the outset of his Administration, assuming that releasing so much cash would be certain to create jobs. The economy would pick up, allowing Democrats to focus on their pet big-government projects.
But, things didn’t work out as planned.
That’s why this Democrat needs to learn from FDR. Had it not been for the wars in Europe and the Far East, had that Democrat bid for a third term in 1940, he likely would have lost the presidential contest that fall, to be known to history as an inspiring failure. But, as the threat to Western Civilization grew, he pivoted to meet the emerging challenges. Magazine covers notwithstanding, the latest Democrat to occupy the White House shows few signs of following in his illustrious predecessor’s footsteps.
The “stimulus” hasn’t worked. He needs develop new and different programs to increase employment.
His national security team offered a ham-handed response to the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253. He needs shake up that team and devote greater attention to the terrorist threat. Obama, as Rudy Giuliani contends, may have “turned the corner” in his understanding of that threat, but he needs show that he has made countering it a priority. [Read more…]