Mourning Reagan in America | VailDaily.com
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Mourning Reagan in America

Nickey Hernandez

Forgive me dear reader for I have sinned.I never voted one for “The Gipper.”I went 0 for 2 at the ballot box. I rejected the twinkle in Ronald Reagan’s eye, the rosy sheen in his cheeks and the raven-like richness of hair that never grayed.Like so many other red-diaper-doper-babies, I wrote off Reagan as a near-senile, B-grade actor, who slept through cabinet meetings, let Ollie North run guns to terrorists, and marched in step with Christian Coalition crusaders.But now, after 144-hours of non-stop media cleansing, I’ve seen the errors of my misspent youth and realize that if not for Reagan, I’d be delivering Pravda on the Siberian Steppe.To understand my stupidity, one must return to 1980. Back then, I was a Libertarian, who toked away his first presidential vote.I fooled myself again in 1984 and went with Walter Mondale, believing that a guy nicknamed “Fritz” had to have a plan for America.Imagine my Election Night embarrassment when Dan Rather announced that I was one of only 28 Americans to cast a vote for Jimmy Carter’s sidekick.What was I thinking? And more importantly, how could I explain my actions now that Rawhide — as the Secret Service dubbed President Reagan — had enjoyed his last Morning in America.Sure, I could turn Bush-like and excuse my youthful shenanigans on booze, blackouts and cowardice. Then I glanced down at my new W.W.R.D. wristband and hung my smart-ass head in shame.This is not what Reagan would do, I realized. After all, the man never lied, never frowned and never burped in public. He was perfect. More perfect than Britney Spears’ buns.Some say he spoke 17 languages, including ancient Aramaic. Others claim he could calculate the value of Pi while making Tip O’Neill spit up whiskey with Irish quips.And yet I shunned him.A simple Hail Mary won’t cover a generation of blasphemy. No. I must shout “my bad” on the mountaintop, then chop to bits my twisted, liberal logic like Reagan did to the woodpiles of the Western White House.Only now do I understand that my near-commie votes belong on the ash heap of history.Oh how I wish Bill Gates would invent a time machine or that Superman could to leap from the comic pages and make the world spin backward 24 years. Then I could vote for the man whose face belongs not on the puny $10, but upon every bar of gold buried beneath the Federal Reserve Bank.My rebirth into the full, rich bosom of right-minded thinkers began last Saturday when news of Reagan’s untimely, shocking death at 93 hit me like a losing bet on Smarty Jones.I had high hopes when that fateful day began. I rose late and sat before the glowing orb to watch the Belmont Stakes.Then came the terror: Smarty Jones had lost, I owed the bookies several grand and, oh yeah, Reagan was dead.With little else to do but wait for the thumb breakers to arrive, I surfed to the Fox Channel and let the wisdom of Brit Hume, Sean Hannity, and Geraldo Rivera re-educate me on all things Reagan.I watched the masses gather outside a funeral home in Santa Monica, heard an old geezer mumble about Reagan’s “steel spine,” the president’s life-long hatred of Communism, and that fact that Reagan once swam the English Channel with Nancy strapped to his back.Darkness came and Bill Clinton appeared on MSNBC. He praised Reagan’s good cheer. Some un-indicted, former Reagan cabinet member said that the president never fought in World War II, but that his films caused Himmler to wet his pants.An IV drip of espresso kept my head in the game as the days passed. I used toothpicks to prop open my eyelids so not to doze off and show disrespect.Michael Reagan wept about the hugs he gave his stricken father; Nancy kissed his flag-draped coffin; and Mikhail Gorbachev said he’d undergo laser surgery so the stain on his godless head would resemble Reagan’s profile.I was snow blind by day four and turned to the radio for solace. Thankfully, Rush Limbaugh guided me. Liberals never understood Reagan, the Rush man said.Reagan won the Cold War, made America feel good about itself and saved the republic with tax cuts that turned the 1990s into a decade of peace, prosperity and Wall Street thievery.Deranged radio talk show madman Michael Savage came on air hours later. He said Reagan wrote his own speeches on the backs of post cards.Apparently, Peggy Noonan and Michael Deaver were figments of my liberal imagination.By the time Reagan’s coffin was under the Dome in DC. I had gone through the Republican looking glass. I renamed my dog Ronnie, feasted on jellybeans and prepared to re-invade Grenada.Only now, through the magic of an endless 24-hour news cycle, can I realize that in my heart, I know Reagan was right.Rest in peace Mr. President. VT


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