Is It Morning in America Again?
I just purchase Ronald Reagan’s autobiography, “An American Life”. It is a big task at 726 pages but every page exudes optimism in the American people and love of country. With millionaires kneeling during our national anthem and pure evil shooting innocent Americans, the read is refreshing.
We need more optimism in America today — especially in our politics.
With each election cycle, every candidate recites a plethora of platitudes but Reagan seemed to exude a rock-hard faith in, and affection for, the American people. Listen up future Republican candidates, there is a tangible, growing mainstream depression about the future of the nation that seems ripe for you the candidate to tap into.
More than half of Americans said that our last presidential election was too negative. Billions of dollars and thousands of jobs are at stake in every election so some bare knuckle fighting is expected. Even Reagan was not opposed to taking the fight to the enemy, right Gorbachev?
A positive outlook and vision requires the hard work of winning over new friends, which means going where politicians have not been invited, and enduring less-than-adoring crowds. This is much harder than telling true believers what they already believe. I think, or at least I hope, voters will reward candidates who have the talent and perseverance to do this.
Reagan’s “Morning in America” campaign theme is an obvious example, but his optimism went much deeper, to his faith in Americans’ desire to fight for the American people. “Together, let us make this a new beginning. Let us make a commitment to care for the needy,” said Reagan at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit as he accepted the nomination of his party. “We have to move ahead, but we’re not going to leave anyone behind.”
“People” is Reagan’s most frequently repeated word, uttered 38 times. When we add in all the specific people he is fighting for — “families,” “children,” “the needy” and so on — the number more than doubles.
Reagan was not a cheerful milquetoast. He was perfectly capable of a vigorous fight — just ask the Soviets. But he studiously avoided being grim about it.
Reagan’s optimism went way beyond ideologically; it was simply about people and our potential. He possessed an unflinching belief that all people — the poor, children, the elderly — were human assets, waiting to be developed so they could earn their success. Ronald Reagan wanted to touch the hearts and minds of the truck drivers and cashiers in America.
In contrast, pessimists (Democrats) see people as liabilities to manage, as burdens or threats that we must minimize. This manifests itself on the political left when we construct welfare programs that fail to boost unemployed Americans back into the work force.
Millions of Americans are frustrated by the environment of competing pessimism in Washington today.
Republicans wishing to win election must exude optimism. But it has to be the type of Ronald Reagan’s, down-to-earth and real. The American people can smell an imposter a mile away. I predict we will see victory — especially if the democrats double down on pessimism and division.