I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and heart to get there. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.
The great President Ronald Reagan spoke those words, and I’m wondering today what he would think of the contenders for his old job.
Man, do we have some grievance-driven sore losers or what?
In one corner, the Democrats appear unable to ever recover from the big upset of 2016. What should have been a couple of weeks of hurt feelings has turned into a perpetual crusade of healing, except that they never actually heal.
The latest is former First Lady Michelle Obama, who’s saying Donald Trump’s victory “still hurts”.
In her new book “The Light We Carry”, Mrs. O laments how “the choice our country had made to replace Barack Obama with Donald Trump” felt and still feels. (Technically, we were choosing Trump over Hillary Clinton, not over Barack Obama. Who knows…?)
Well, I’ll tell you, and I say this with respect for Michelle Obama: they won and you lost.
I know Democrats understand this concept, because it’s exactly what they “felt” and said in 2020. And are saying now, as they held the Senate and virtually held the House.
For now, though, it appears 2016 will never be over for the Democrats.
Now, as for Donald Trump.
If the entire basis for his running a third time is going to be reliving his past glory like Uncle Rico in “Napoleon Dynamite”, I don’t see this campaign going too far.
Last night, much of what he said was an exaggerated retelling of the Before Biden era. Yes, things were better, although not in exactly the ways he claims. But I’m not putting him (back) in the presidency to make things up to him, or to try and turn back the hands of time. People are in pain now, and need solutions for now. You can’t rerun 2017-2020. And we can safely say 2025 isn’t going to remotely resemble 2017.
Ronald Reagan, our oldest president until Trump and Biden came along, was a man from the West, who purposefully took his first oath of office facing that direction (in a break with tradition) because he understood the symbolism: our country had looked westward in so much of its growth, progress and potential.
What captivated me as a young voter for Reagan when he ran for reelection in 1984 was not his old tales of the past (which he had a few), or his nostalgia for the past, but his obvious optimism and engagement in the future.
We are looking for that now, and if we hear it, we will vote for it. It’s an insult to us to come at us with your grievances and sore loserhood.