Saturday, June 05, 2004

And so I hear that Ronald Reagan died today.

Reagan was in his second year as president when I was born. I've known that since I was just a kid; it's written in my baby book along with "World Headlines: War in Lebanon, Rolling Stones Tour Europe" and "The Most Popular Song: 'Down Under' by Men at Work." But I never knew anything about any presidents. The first time politics seriously entered my world was when I ran for president in the fourth grade and I believed that everyone should vote for Ross Perot because of his ears.
What I mean to say is that neither of his terms dented my consciousness. The world outside my limited experience existed only as a color glimpsed from the corner of my eye. Sometimes the grown ups would sit around the tv and watch the news, but I wasn't interested. So I've never been able to muster up any animosity towards Reagan. Just a few years after his Alzheimer's announcement my grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson's, which seem more and more to be different sides of the same coin. Unless I try really hard, I can't even see him as a former president, just an old man that was important once.

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