Mark Levin tweeted a link to this video. It was brilliantly put together.
The refreshingly almost-libertarianish/constitutionalist nature of the conservative philosophy of Reagan in this and many other speeches, and its clear contrast with the people presently in power, reminds me of how sharp and principled President Reagan was. It also got me reflecting on what he meant to me.
I was 13 years old when Reagan defeated Carter in 1980, which made me 17 when he was up for reelection. I was only three months from my eighteenth birthday but that meant that I would cast my first Presidential vote four years later for Bush41. Suffice to say that though my respect for Reagan and his philosophy has grown markedly over the years, it was obvious to me even at that age that he was something special. I think that I hated being too young to vote for him more than I hated the fact that they started raising the drinking age from 18 to 21 when I was 17, but I am getting off point.
Most liberals and even some libertarians scoff at the way that so many conservatives speak reverently about President Reagan. There are many reasons that conservatives admire Ronald Reagan and talk constantly of finding “another Reagan”. Beyond all of the good things that our 40th President did for our country – and frankly the world, given some of his more controversial stances during the close of the Cold War – he did one thing that one southern kid will never forget. He brought back our confidence. That very swagger that liberals hated so much about our 43rd President.
I was nine years old in 1976, when America went bananas celebrating our bicentennial, and it left a big dent in me. I grew up believing with every fiber of my being in what I would many years later realize was called American Exceptionalism. During that year, and for many years thereafter given the lousy economy, everything from clothing to motorcycle helmets to frisbees were covered in the red, white, and blue. At the same time, however, the post-Vietnam years were also a period of what I can only describe as a little less pride in America. I do not mean to suggest that individuals were unpatriotic, just that as a country we were not walking around tall and proud in many ways. Jimmy Carter even went on television and told us we had “malaise”. The stage really was set for someone with some patriotic optimism.
As an aside, I will never forget how I felt in 1980 when Charlie Daniels released In America. I find it difficult to explain how much that simple song meant to me and how it made me feel about my country. Charlie: I love you, man.
Well the eagle’s been flying slow, and the flag’s been flying low, and a lot of people saying that America’s fixing to fall.
But speaking just for me and some people from Tennessee, we got a thing to tell you all.
This lady may have stumbled, but she ain’t never fell, and if the Russians don’t believe that they can all go straight to hell.
We’re gonna put her feet back on the path of righteousness and then, God bless America again.
From my perspective as a teenager growing up in the South in the 80s, what President Reagan means more to me than anything else is this: Reagan made it cool to be patriotic again. Reagan unapologetically loved his country, the greatest country in the history of mankind, in a way that too few politicians even understand today. All I can say to people who do not feel what I feel when they watch that Reagan video, or understand why In America meant so much to some us out in flyover country, is that it really sucks to be you.