"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
The singing of the hymn "Jerusalem" and Mrs. Thatcher's eloquent tribute at today's memorial service for the late President Reagan called to mind this Tenniel illustration, from a Library of Congress exhibition on the historic relationship between America and Great Britain.
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"We will bury you," Kruschev said. This isn't what he had in mind.
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Ronald Reagan, in his own words: From the Goldwater speech to the "bombing begins in 10 minutes," lots of sound and video clips at NPR.
The second-greatest president of the 20th century dies (with Theodore Roosevelt coming a close third), and the liberal establishment that alternately ridiculed and demonized Ronald Reagan throughout his presidency is in a quandary. How to remember a man they anathematized for eight years but who enjoys both the overwhelming affection of the American people and decisive vindication by history?
They found their way to do it. They dwell endlessly on the man's smile, his sunny personality, his good manners. Above all, his optimism.
"Optimism" is the perfect way to trivialize everything that Reagan was or did. Pangloss was an optimist. Harold Stassen was an optimist. Ralph Kramden was an optimist. Optimism is nice, but it gets you nowhere unless you also possess ideological vision, policy and prescriptions to make it real, and, finally, the political courage to act on your convictions.
Optimism? Every other person on the No. 6 bus is an optimist. What distinguished Reagan was what he did and said. Reagan was optimistic about America amid the cynicism and general retreat of the post-Vietnam era because he believed unfashionably that America was both great and good -- and had been needlessly diminished by restrictive economic policies and timid foreign policies. Change the policies and America would be restored, both at home and abroad.
Andrew Sullivan offers much more in this vein, and writes: Rest in peace, Mr President. And know that after all these years, you were right - and all these people were clearly, emphatically, embarrassingly, wrong.
When talking about Ronald Reagan, I have to be personal. We in Poland took him so personally. Why? Because we owe him our liberty. This can't be said often enough by people who lived under oppression for half a century, until communism fell in 1989.
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In 1983, I was confined to an eight-by-ten-foot prison cell on the border of Siberia. My Soviet jailers gave me the privilege of reading the latest copy of Pravda. Splashed across the front page was a condemnation of President Ronald Reagan for having the temerity to call the Soviet Union an "evil empire." Tapping on walls and talking through toilets, word of Reagan's "provocation" quickly spread throughout the prison. We dissidents were ecstatic. Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth - a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us. (Via Andrew Sullivan)