Monday, June 07, 2004

On Ronald Reagan

I'll let the voices of those who mourn for him speak:

I love Ronald Reagan because I feel that he stands for good, period. I agree with everything he says and everything he does. I would never say the same thing about anyone else, other than the Pope and Michael Jackson."
Penned in behind a strip of yellow police tape outside number 668 St Cloud Road in the exclusive Los Angeles suburb of Bel Air, Paul Whitney was witnessing a small moment in American history and mourning the death of the country's 40th president.
"I'm overwhelmed," he said. "It's a big surprise. I thought he'd just go on and on, like Bob Hope. He lived to be 100."

As the news spread, people gathered to pay their respects and - occasionally - voice criticism of Reagan's policies. "I grew up in the 80s, I was a Reagan kid," said Jim Frye. "The thing that was different about Ronald Reagan was that he made you feel good about being an American. He had core principles and stuck to them."
"He was an idiot," countered LaShan Bramtam, who worked for the Reagan and Ford administrations. "I didn't agree with his politics. He was good in foreign policy but in domestic politics, the economy, we went into debt under him. Either you love him or you hate him. He wasn't one of those people you could stay in the middle."
Ms Bramtam, along with her friend Jacqueline Washington, were unlikely mourners for Reagan, both describing themselves as Democrats. "It's sad when someone dies," said Ms Washington. "We came here out of respect."

At 5.15pm the gates of the Reagan estate were opened and a hearse slowly made its way down the drive. Inside was a coffin draped with the American flag. Four assistants walked alongside the vehicle, each with one hand on its roof. The hearse negotiated the corner into the lane and Ronald Reagan left 668 St Cloud Road for the last time.
"I'll tell you something about this place," said Ms Hinton, who has lived in the area for 26 years. "It used to be number 666, but the Reagans petitioned to get the number changed