But, February made me shiver with every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep – I couldn’t take one more step
Not February, but today bad news was on my Twitter feed. A Canadian friend posted that Margret Thatcher died. That took me back to the 80’s and my idealism of the time. Young, out of high school, Reagan was president, I stepped up and joined the Marines, because after all, it was the right thing to do. Reagan and Thatcher was the political match that would make the Soviet block tremble. Then our mutual enemies were easily identifiable. There was no mistaking a Soviet soldier for a civilian. Our militaries in several places looked eye to eye at each other. The crisis of of Soviet domination of the world seemed more than just an idle threat. And two leaders stood up to the Soviets and promised victory and better times for all.
Yes, I was quite idealistic at the young adult age. I saw the decay of the Carter years (something that he inherited, but did little to fix) turn into the boom of the Reagan years (much to do with the flow of newly discovered North Sea crude and cheap fuel). But, I think, every generation has that political hero. My grandmother talked on and on how no president would ever be as great as FDR, she died believing that too. For my parents it was JFK. He was the hope for the future, but as they grew older they learned more and more about Kennedy and that he was not perfect, and made some bad mistakes. My infatuation of Reagan lasted for even less time. Graduate School political science pretty much killed most of my youthful memories. For my son, it was Bill Clinton. It was a boom time and Bill was a pretty cool guy. Although young to idolize Clinton, he still has a Clinton memorabilia and thinks he would make a great “first lady”. Time will tell. Hopefully, it will work out better for him than previous generations.
I would like to think that if I was British back then, I would be a serious punk rock hooligan, but who am I kidding. I probably would have joined the Royal Marines and went to the Falklands. That brings me back to Margret Thatcher. She sent her forces half way around the world to retake some craggy islands, occupied mostly by sheep, from Argentina. Well there is little doubt that Argentina was the bad guy this time. Military juntas are rarely the nice guys. But for England, it was a great under taking (Vulcan 607, by Rowland White is a very worthwhile read), but today I look and see and nation who once held a empire mustering everything it could to hold on to its last bit of its former grandeur… much like an old man chasing kids off his lawn.
Margret Thatcher (and Ronald Reagan) will always bring warm memories of the 80s, the good old days young, living in southern California, training to kill Communists in Central America…Now get the hell off my lawn.
And the people I admire the most, Reagan, Maggie, and Helmet Kolh all took the train to the coast… – Singer in a bar in Bonn, West Germany mid 1980s
2 responses to “We’ll Miss You, Maggie”
I’ve never had the pleasure of having a major political hero. Not that there’s been much to choose from up here–I think the last truly charismatic politician to surface in Canada was Pierre Trudeau (prime minister, 1968-84), and I was too young to have much interest. Well, this isn’t entirely true. Jean Chretien was compelling but too much of a cynical a-hole to get fired up about, if that makes sense. 🙂
Even after growing up on the other side of Lake Erie, having an undergrad degree in history and a graduate degree in International Relations, Trudeau is the only PM I can name. I can name a dozen Mexican presidents, but only a single Canadian PM, but that is more than most Americans can name. Even in my university time, Canada came up in the War of 1812 and the east coast fishing rights disputes of the 1980s. Perhaps there is a benefit of not having political heroes: they tend to make waves and wars or their wives hang out with The Stones in Studio 54.
Sometimes I wonder if things would have been better without political heroes.