Home On the Range
I like to think of Ronald Reagan sitting atop his favorite horse and surveying his beautiful California ranch – (meanwhile, back at the ranch.) He was, after all, the epitome of the good old American “cowboy.” Everybody said so – his supporters and detractors alike. That fiercely independent and free spirit of a man, who accomplished so much in his lifetime and received, at times, so little credit for the calm and optimistic character that sustained his tremendous courage, connected with the “common people” here and abroad because he considered himself no better or worse than any other human soul. He not only had great faith, but he lived it, and that was apparent to any who bothered to notice it. He was capable of great love and deeds, large and small, that could (and did) inspire a nation and a world that was more than ready to embrace freedom and individual strength.
So in my fondest memories of the man, I will celebrate this “cowboy” image as the most positive one I can muster. I imagine myself introducing someone who never heard of him and knows nothing of him to this image. As I stand some distance away and point to the man on the horse and say, “There… do you see – the tall guy on the horse – that is the President of the United States of America.”
The term, “cowboy”, has been used to negatively describe Reagan, and more recently our current president, because too many have strayed from equating individualism and strength with positive attributes of a leader. Imagine that! In the eyes of some it is better for our leader to be seen as a puppet on the world stage controlled by a socialist agenda cloaked in a false sense of peace. So, they attack the individualist with what they see as a derogatory term. It doesn’t work because common people identify with the cowboy image, and what’s more, they actually respect it.
In a world that despises age, hard won wisdom that accompanies longevity, and self-acquired wealth, I suppose Ronald Reagan would deserve all the negative, venomous comments that some have been unable to withhold, even in the shadow of his death, but in the more positive and traditional world that he faithfully served and staunchly believed in, Ronald Reagan deserves the honor and love that is being bestowed on his memory in this week of mourning. In any event, I am happy in the knowledge that this great man is once again free and happy to be home on the range.
God bless the loved ones he left behind and the individuals who recognize the value of his life on this earth. And as he always voiced, God Bless America!