Mr. Reagan: Reflections and Well Wishes
by Adam Abraham
SACRAMENTO — I wasn't a big fan of Ronald Reagan as president, but I wish him well. I didn't support all of the policies he enacted or stood for, but I wish him all the best. I wish him well, not because he has passed on to that Great Ranch in the Heavens, but because I am very clear that he strove to do and be the best that he could, as all man and woman should. He was willing to put himself in the brightest of spotlights and allow billions of people around the world to view every aspect of his life. Like Monday morning quarterbacks wearing judges' robes, they second-guessed, questioned, and sometimes condemned him for being him. I wonder how many of Mr. Reagan's judges can honestly say that they would have been as willing to do what he did.
It takes courage to be willing to have others judge and criticize your every step. It takes courage to view yourself and others as equals, and then live that way. It takes courage to stick to your principles – especially when you feel they have the best interests of the greatest number in mind, and you know that others will be questioning them.
It doesn't take much courage to criticize someone else's life in hindsight.
There has been a lot said about Ronald Reagan's life at his passing because we've had a lot of time to prepare for it. After the announcement that Mr. Reagan had Alzheimer's, we took collective notice, watching the "sweep second hand" of life clock slowly take him away. We felt for his greatest champion and love Nancy whose sadness, after many years of prominence and the long protracted process of decline and withdrawal, can only be described as unfathomable.
Voyeuristically, we've had a lot of time to think about life, death, and passing. not only that of Mr. Reagan's, but our own. We've had a lot of time to consider the meaning of it all. If we are honest, we'd send to Mr. Reagan what I'm sure he'd send to us even if he didn't know us personally. best wishes and God's speed. That is the very least we can do for him. It is also the most we can do.
I didn't care for what Mr. Reagan's Republican Party "stood for" during the time of his presidency. The terms "conservatism" and "right wing" – which often went hand-in-hand with republicanism – left a bad taste in the minds of many black people during that era. For many, the aftertaste still lingers. But I think that is unfortunate.
The Democratic Party, whose history includes support of another "Southern Strategy" – The First Mississippi Plan of 1875, is a far "friendlier" place today for slavish thinking than the current-day Republican Party. The party that openly used violence, murder, and intimidation to dissuade black people from voting Republican, or voting at all, is now still considered their greatest "protector," if not friend. Its leaders appear to want black people to continue believing that they can't get anything worthwhile done in their lives without the oversight, clearance, support, and legislative manipulation of democratic ideologues. They don't want Americans to believe in ourselves, each other, and in our inherent equality and power as human beings. They don't want us to see our own ability to create ways for the sun to shine in our lives irrespective of the party affiliation of the man (or woman) occupying the Oval Office. Quite a few blacks are still willing to listen to that song. They're "mad as hell." Politically speaking, for things to stay just the way they are, mad – without a qualitative change of mind and heart – is good.
One thing that Mr. Reagan did not appear to be was mad. The current Mr. Bush, on the other hand, is another story. But then, he is a different individual, and should not be judged solely by the office that he holds. Perhaps that is the real issue about reflections on Mr. Reagan, and on our selves. We are individuals making life decisions each day and moment.
Irrespective of whom the president of the United States happens to be, his or her choices will never have as much impact on our lives, as our own. If we see a president or a political party as being more powerful or influential than we are, then we are deceiving ourselves. If we have more disdain for someone else's life choices than we have for our own, assuming we're dissatisfied with the way things are presently going, then shame on us.
We are always free to blame the president, or the economy, Democrats, Republicans, White Supremacy, or you name it, for our malaise. The malaise will still be our own, and won't go away until we decide, as individuals, to let it go to "make room" for something better. One way to do that is to wish it well.
Adam Abraham is author of I Am My Body, NOT! (www.phaelos.com/iambn.html) and A Freed Man: An Emancipation Proclamation (www.phaelos.com/afm.html), with a third title, I Am Spirit! due to be published later this year. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2004 Adam Abraham. All rights reserved.