I watched a bit of the coverage
of the memorial service for former First Lady Nancy Reagan and had a few thoughts to share. First, I believe that I have never seen and heard a more powerful tribute than the ones that were given Nancy by her children, Patti and Ron Reagan, Jr.
Between them, the message was clear – Nancy Reagan was truly the Patron Saint of Ronald Reagan. Ron Jr. told the audience that his father essentially approached the people that worked for him and with him from the basic outlook that they were loyal. Nancy Reagan, on the other hand, was of a more pragmatic bent – “trust but verify”. Hers was a vigilant discernment of all spirits and if any were found to be wanting, they were skating on thin ice whether they realized it or not.
Others have already pointed out the contrast in the dignity and respect for the Office of the Presidency that Nancy Reagan fostered and maintained in comparison to the current occupants of the White House. I agree with that sentiment.
Nancy Reagan had her virtues and her shortcomings as a human being, but today the focus is on her virtues – which were manifest. My mother who is Nancy’s age, and I were talking about the generally termite infested foundations of our culture and that of the American Empire at large. Many examples occurred to us. The ‘Trash Culture’; the Kardashians; smut having oozed out of the customary cubbie holes it used to be tucked into to at least shield children; the coarse vulgarity of the leading candidate in the Republican primary and the thug mentality of his followers – not all, but too many.
Also mentioned was the influence of drugs on youth. As I sat down to compose some notes on Nancy Reagan, the one thing that stood out, was Nancy Reagan’s concern for children. And she did more than just lament the problem of drug use, she actually put legs to an effort to change the culture and counter the seduction of these various poisons. Thus was born the “Just Say No” campaign, the simple imperative of which, Nancy herself, is credited with coining.
It was a valiant effort, and I have no doubt that she can take comfort in knowing she had an influence on thousands of kids, who most likely would have had no other adult, including their parents, invest a teachable moment to steer them away from drugs. Even though her effort had no permanent effect, that fact in no way diminishes the nobility of the effort. Every child who vowed to “Just Say No”, was a “brand plucked from the burning”.
Jesus talked about the retribution in store “for those who would cause one of these little ones to stumble.” Surely there must be a corresponding reward for one who lead them away from the menace and perils of drugs. Her reward will be her reunion with “Ronnie”.