Friday, June 11, 2004

Farewell, Mr. President

President Reagan was laid to rest just a few minutes ago as the sun set over the hills of southern California. And, if you don't mind, I would like to take a moment to share my thoughts....

I like politics. And my interest in politics began with Ronald Reagan. I was only 10 or 11 years old at the time, but I remember listening to my father loudly expound on politics as we sat around the dinner table during the presidential race of 1980. As the election neared, I knew that it was indeed an important and exciting event.

Four years later, my father's conservative political views having become my own, I stayed up late, with a sense of euphoria, to watch the returns on television as Reagan swept to victory and was reelected in a landslide.

I went on to run and be elected to our student government association in high school and the student senate in college. Since then I have worked on a number of political issue campaigns, a congressional race, and two presidential campaigns. Currently, I am quite active in local politics as a leader of Action In Montgomery, a community organizing project in my area. And although, I would no longer agree with many of the policies of President Reagan (my personal political views have changed and evolved greatly over the past 24 years... much to the chagrin of my father, I imagine), I do owe my interest in politics to Ronald Reagan, at least in part. He inspired me to get involved and to try to make a difference.

I like politics, as I said. Not the acrimonious bickering and partisan fighting that seems to pervade our nation's capital these days, but rather the notion that men and women can come together in the spirit of public service, to work together for the good of the larger community and the betterment of all. And while certainly not perfect, I believe that Reagan showed you could be political "adversaries without being enemies" (as President Bush put it in his eulogy this morning). I think that is something today's political leaders would do well to learn.

So, Mr. President, I thank you for your service and I pray that you rest in peace. May God bless Ronald Reagan.

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