June 5, 2004

To honor Reagan's memory, we bring you Sappy Childhood Stories.

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at June 5, 2004 5:27 PM

RIP, Ronald Reagan.

I was 10 years old in 1988 and could not recall anyone else having been president. (At the age of 2 I was not quite the political junkie I am now, and thus have no memories of the Carter administration.) A few years earlier I had moved to D.C. with my family. We had taken the White House tour, got the jellybeans, watched Reagan board Marine One (or maybe he was disembarking).

I also remember election night 1984. It was twilight, and I was walking down a Houston sidewalk with my mother, as she explained that she had just cast her ballot. Well, I wanted to vote too, but not having known there was an election until several minutes earlier, I did not have sufficient time to study the issues. Therefore I asked my mother (a) if I could vote and (b) for whom she had voted, displaying a confidence in her political judgements that I was later to abandon. She encouraged me to express my electoral preference by tapping a nearby fire hydrant, which I proudly punched for Reagan, and I've found irrational pleasure in voting ever since (if not in voting Republican).

Today some are discussing Reagan as a man, and some are discussing Reagan's policies as president, but I had no experience of either. So these are my memories of Ronald Reagan.

(Well, these and the hilarious meeting between Reagan and Bobby Shaftoe in Cryptonomicon, but I suppose that doesn't count due to Neal Stephenson making it up.)

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Comments

Do NOT taunt the happy fun ball...

Posted by: mama-san | June 6, 2004 11:54 AM

Hee hee here's my Reagan memory: I ran the "campaign" for Reagan at St. John's in 1984. We had posters and speeches, (I was 7, I'm not sure what the hell we actually said), and then we all got to go into a little booth and vote. Reagan won by a ridiculous landslide, in part due to the fact that most of the kids were scared by Mondale's face...anyway I remember feeling incredibly proud that I had taken part in the election...or, well, you know, pretended to, at least. Yeah, well, that's my memory.

I'm not going to pretend that I didn't like Reagan. I got to meet him in 1992 at the Republican National Convention, and it was a giddy moment. Maybe it was the Presidential aura, I don't know, but I really enjoyed the few minutes I was able to spend with him.

A side note: my dad said the other night: "If you not liberal when you're young, then you don't have a heart. If you're not conservative when you're old, then you don't have a brain." I'm sure he didn't come up with that one on his own, but it made me shudder for a moment...

Posted by: Tracy | June 7, 2004 7:34 AM

I've heard that saying as well, though it loses its punch now that the poster boy for 21st century conservatism is ever-so-brainy George W.

Also, you may have heard that "a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged."

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | June 7, 2004 10:47 AM

Ha! I like that one -- I'll have to pass it along to dear old dad ;)

Posted by: Tracy | June 7, 2004 10:57 AM

Well, there's also what Ambrose Bierce wrote of the difference between conservatives and liberals (which I'll paraphrase)---conservatives are enamored of the existing evils, whereas liberals want to replace those evils with new ones.

As for my Reagan moment (and the guy was _extremely_ charismatic, regardless of any issues with politic bent), I was in 4th grade and got a free subscription to a coin collecting magazine. I discovered that there used to be $3 coins. When we were assigned to write a letter to Reagan in class, I wrote and suggested that he bring back the $3 coin. Now, I don't remember whether the teacher sent all of them or didn't and I then sent my letter on my own (I think the latter), but about 3 weeks later, I got a letter from "Reagan" (naturally, from some subordinate) with a letter explaining why it didn't make sense to that and a poster of Reagan. Of course, he never saw my letter, but _somebody_ bothered to answer a little kid's ramblings. My parents were surprised that I got a letter from the White House, which was kind of funny in and of itself.

I'm pretty sure I don't have a copy of what I wrote, but I bet I have a copy of the response somewhere in my parents' home.

Anyway, this only sort of qualifies as a Reagan memory, but it was still pretty cool at the time.

Also, I have to admit that I felt a little pang when the baseball game I was watching was interrupted for the announcement of Reagan's death. When they later interrupted the game for a half an hour special on coffin and flower arrangements for the funeral, I was fucking annoyed, but his death did cause a pang. (Granted, the pang caused by Douglas Adams' death was _much_ larger, but I don't usually feel pangs when politicians die.)

Posted by: Mason Porter | June 14, 2004 8:58 PM
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