Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mark Steyn's Magnificent Tribute to Ronald Reagan

Do read Steyn's beautiful obituary of Ronald Reagan, which still rings true a decade after Regan's death.

This fine piece could have also been titled "Yes, that is my job."

You have to read the whole thing to get to that part, and it's certainly worth it.

I've read a number of books about Ronald Reagan, and one thing he had in common with Churchill was that he was a great leader, an unworldly philosopher in a worldly body with a phenomenal mission. As it is close to Father's Day, I must also comment that his greatest successes were not as a father to his own children-much like Churchill as well. In this respect he was a greatly flawed man, as was Churchill. These were great men with purpose who changed history, and freed humans from the chains of other humans, yet were terribly flawed humans nonetheless.

Interestingly Ronald Reagan's father-a hardworking, troubled, reformed alcoholic must have had a formative influence on his thoughts. (His mother was always a very devout Christian.)  When he was off the bottle, they reconciled their previously estranged relationship and Ronald Regan gave his father a job, being in charge of his fan club-for a salary. This enabled a dignified life, "honor thy parents' indeed.

Regan's father worked for a time as a salesman, I can't recall what he was selling, if memory serves it may have been encyclopedias, but times were very tough in America and he was lucky to have any means of supporting his family. He found himself in some small town in the middle of a blizzard and found a run down motel and went in to get a room. After a few moments of conversation the owner of the inn made a remark about how the room was available to him, but only if he wasn't a Jew.

Reagan's father stormed out of the inn and spent the night in his car, in the snowstorm rather than patronize the antisemitic owner's lodge, and made a point of telling the story, adding in the lesson of all G-d's creations and individuals were equal.

Another interesting little bit was that even in his childhood, people thought Ronald Reagan was stupid. By fluke he was handling one of his parents' eyeglasses and looked through a lens and could see.

He had needed glasses.

Not stupid. Never was.

Rest in peace.