Ronald Reagan, the Actor

“Then tell me, future boy, who’s president in 1985?” “Ronald Reagan.” “Ronald Reagan? The actor?? HA!” ~ Doc Brown to Marty McFly in 1955, Back to the Future, Amblin Entertainment  (1985)

By Terri Sloan

Ronald Reagan was my president. He was elected president soon after my 21st birthday and remained in office until I was nearly 30.  I was oblivious to politics in those days, and to be honest, all I heard about his political platform at the time was ‘Reaganomics.’ But under his presidency, the United States thrived and I instinctively knew that he earned the respect due him. I’ve since and always considered him the best president. Ever.

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Ronald Reagan was presidential. He was an eloquent speaker. He had a charismatic presence. He was sophisticated. He was funny. He rocked the cowboy outfits he wore when he was on his ranch. People loved him. He had our nation’s best interests at heart. Of course, he made some great and memorable things happen during his presidency; reduced inflation, cut taxes, influenced Gorbachev to, indeed, tear down that wall. When the air traffic controllers went on strike in 1981, he responded quickly and decisively and sent a clear message to the unions. When he left office in 1989 he held an approval rating of 68% percent, matching those of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and later Bill Clinton, as the highest ratings for departing presidents in the modern era. (A Look Back at the Polls, CBS News, June 7, 2004.)

I suppose it might have been difficult for folks to imagine an actor could be the President of the United States. Yet he had been an excellent governor of California, so it wasn’t actually all that surprising. He managed to balance California’s formerly deficit budget and even wrangle a surplus… which is saying something considering the mess California is in with their projected $4 billion deficit by 2020 (John Meyers, LA Times May 13, 2016). Ronald Reagan, the actor, was a great man. The acting was just a precursor to his greatness.

“There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.” ~ Ronald Reagan

So here we are today. We have Donald Trump; a divisive, philandering, racist, misogynistic, temperamental reality show host running for President of the United States. And he’s doing well. What has happened in our culture that we could have made such a leap into this dumpster fire?  How have folks become so disenchanted with our government? The only way Donald Trump can make America great again is if he can somehow magically turn himself into Ronald Reagan.

I feel bad for the Republican Party. Things have apparently been slowly unraveling for a long time, and somehow they didn’t see this coming. During the primaries, some decent candidates threw their hats in the ring. But they couldn’t make themselves heard. Between the disenfranchised, weary voters and the overwhelmingly loud, attention grabbing Trump, they never stood a chance.

We are down to the wire now, so, unfortunately, not much new can be said or done. If you are a Republican, as I have been for 30+ years, I understand you feel that you are between a rock and a hard place. But, please, remember the greatest president. Ever. My President, Ronald Reagan… and realize, as I have, we simply cannot vote for Trump.

There’s never a time machine around when you need one.

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