Those of a certain age (GOP primary voters?) may remember the movie "Wild in the Streets." The soundtrack from the 1968 cult classic included "Shape of Things to Come" and other hits.
The movie covers the events leading up to and after the election of a 25-years-old Republican as President of the United States. He embarks on a campaign of intergenerational warfare that transforms America into "the most truly hedonistic society the world has ever known."
"Wild in the Streets" came to mind after reading an opinion piece by yet another Morris County YR. This one has turned his personal Facebook page into a homage to Freeholder Hank Lyon, a candidate for Assembly in legislative district 26.
The title of the young man's column was: " Why Reagan Destroyed the Republican Party." Yep, you read that right. We kid you not.
First of all, for anyone with sensory perception, the Republican Party is not "destroyed." It controls the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. There are 33 Republican Governors to 16 Democrats and one Independent. As for State Legislatures, the map below illustrates how tilted to the GOP that is:
Destroyed??? Is this strange perception due to this young man coming from a state like New Jersey?
Perhaps. But we believe that what is at work here has more to do with age. The young man who wrote this did not live in that time before Reagan, when the Democrat congressional softball team was called "The Permanent Majority." After Reagan, that boast would never be heard again.
And thanks to President Ronald Reagan, that young man was born into a world in which the Soviet Union was a memory, not a menace. That's not the case for most Republican primary voters. For them, the Soviet Union was a very real psychological disturbance, always in the background, hovering, waiting. The civil defense drills and the threat of nuclear war, was something to be absorbed and then compartmentalized, away from daily life but always someplace there.
Today's young Republicans never experienced any of that, because Ronald Reagan beat the Soviet Union, destroying their economy along with their ideology, and doing it so thoroughly that even "Red" China went capitalist. Reagan's greatness is assured because he kept his most important promise -- to leave Marxism/Leninism on the "ash heap of history" -- and he did so without it costing a million American lives.
The young Hank Lyon supporter's indictment against Ronald Reagan is that the President did not sufficiently rein in spending. Lyon's supporter appears to forget what President Reagan was spending that money on: The largest peacetime military buildup in history, whose goal it was to overtax the Soviet economy into oblivion. With the alternative a nuclear exchange, it was money well spent.
To write a critique of Ronald Reagan's presidency without mentioning the Cold War or the Soviet Union, is like writing about Abraham Lincoln and leaving out slavery and the Civil War. It's a non-starter.
The Lyon supporter who so cavalierly trashed the memory of President Ronald Reagan can do so because he has never held any form of public responsibility at all. Once he holds public office of some kind, and we sincerely hope he does, he will gain some humility. He will learn that in a representative democracy, perfection is unachievable. That there are always trade-offs and muddle-throughs. The young writer will learn this from life as well. He will learn that no marriage goes exactly as wished for, or children, or career. He will learn that the expectation of perfection is the enemy of happiness.
Time and that river, life, will work away his stoney sharpness and his certainties. And he will be a better human for it.