Friday, April 10, 2009

Wither the Reagan Optimism of Old?

The Lament of the Faded Photograph

Whither the Reagan optimism of old?

Tears of mourning have gone

and wash’d away our morning sun.

Whither the Reagan optimism of old?

Chains of retreat now imprison

our once rugged individualism.

Whither the Reagan optimism of old?

Angry disrespect has burned

all we long ago for yearned.

Whither the Reagan optimism of old?

I fear the bell may now have tolled.

“Absence and death are the same -

only that in death there is no suffering.”

- Theodore Roosevelt

Why do so many of those once the epitome of optimism now reluctantly – if not shamefully – wallow in the depths of despair? Is it because Americans seem more interested in government handouts than in taking responsibility to fix their own lives?

Why do we believe the momentum of the pendulum now swings away from us? Do we then fear we will not live to see its inevitable return?

I cannot speak for all, but only for one. I believe the American economy will eventually return to strength, despite what comes from Washington. I fear, though, our psychologically baffled populace will mistakenly attribute the policies of our über government for that turnaround. This will, in turn, embolden the rewarded (by reelection) political aristocracy with yet more reason to continue dismantling the economic freedoms our nation has so enjoyed since the Reagan Revolution.

I further fear the secular cycles of the economy will not reflect this poor policy for quite some time; thus, creating a generation who will refuse to relearn the lessons of the Great Society until their own children finally overthrow those stale ideas.

And if I am wrong? Then America faces another Great Depression. And I fear such an economic disaster, rather than bring the nation back to Reaganomic good sense, will usher in even greater populist demons. The sort of demons only war can remove.

So, I am left with a dilemma: Live in relative prosperity but with less Liberty; or live in relative paucity and potentially even less Liberty.

I see no shining city on a hill. Instead, I see the gathering storm clouds of naïve ignorance, partisan greed and egalitarian fervor.

And I fear I am not prepared for the coming tempest.

And so, on this the darkest day of all on the Christian calendar, I ask one more time: “Wither the Reagan optimism of old?”

For me, you now know my lament of the faded photograph.


  1. Yesterday I read about a ghost town. This ghost town's name is Detroit, Michigan. A town that once knew wealth and prosperity. They now eat racoon for supper. Yet year in and year out, they have elected the same leaders....who have driven that once great town into obscurity.

    It is...a microcosm of the nation.