In 1985, I was asked to sing at a Ronald Reagan Inaugural Ball. I was a young black kid formerly from the east Baltimore projects, clueless about politics. However, I could not help noticing the tone of their questions and odd stares I received from reporters who interviewed me. “So, you “like” Reagan?”
Naive about the liberal media, with a big smile, I boldly replied, “Yes, I like Reagan. Every time I hear this man speak I feel good about myself and my country.” I later learned that as a black person, I was suppose to hate Reagan. Everyone said all of his conservative talk was “code” for racism.
Upon hearing my favorable comments about Reagan to the media, a relative was angry at me. She scolded, “Reagan wants to cut my check!.” I don’t ever remember this relative having a job. She had kids by different men. Her sons fathered babies out of wedlock. Her daughter had two babies without a husband. My angry lifelong welfare mom relative and all of her offspring were on welfare living a cycle of government dependency.
My mom even commented about how absurd it was that upon the slightest cough, my relative would rush her kids to the Johns Hopkins Hospital Emergency Room. Why not? It was free for them.
Though I was a very young man and clueless about politics, I thought the anger of my relative regarding, “her check” was a bit arrogant. This woman never had a job in her life. She simply had babies and lived off the system. There was something morally wrong with her bold sense of entitlement.
I did not quite understand it at the time, but I knew there was something unhealthy about being so dependent upon government.
Ronald Reagan inspired me. When he spoke of America being a shining city on a hill, he got a lump in his throat which caused a lump to appear in my throat. Reagan made me proud to be an American.
On TV, a Secret Service agent told a moving story about Reagan. After horseback riding, Reagan always personally bedded down his horse. One day after a ride, Reagan could not remember the procedure. Reagan had Alzheimer’s disease.
Upon realizing that Reagan could not remember how to take care of his horse, the agent became teary eyed. Reagan saw the agent’s compassionate for him and said, “It’s Ok.”
This compelling story confirmed my feelings about Reagan. I believe you can always tell the greatness of a leader by how they treat those around them. Despite realizing his mental capacity was deteriorating, selfless Reagan was concerned about the feelings of a Secret Service agent.
Wow, what a leader. The agent’s story inspired me to write a song honoring Reagan.
As for my Reagan-hating welfare mom relative, she is still on welfare. Sadly, her off spring have not fared well: drugs, jail and premature deaths. Wasted lives.
Happy 100th Birthday Mr President.
Lloyd Marcus, Proud Unhyphenated American