Ronald Reagan Commemorative Coins Open Football Games

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imageCollege and High school football teams this weekend are using commemorative coins to mark the year of Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday (Feb. 6, 1911).  He remains the favorite president of my lifetime—and is perhaps the only one I actually voted FOR (as opposed to voting against the other guy).

Reagan was an athlete, who was a lifeguard and played football at Eureka College. He also played golf. But unlike more recent presidents (and the current golf-obsessed one), Reagan gave it up during his term in office. The story is that in 1983, Reagan was playing at Augusta National when a gunman crashed the gates and kept five people hostage for 21 hours (two White House staffers and three Augusta National employees). Reagan reportedly was shaken by the incident and decided that playing golf was not worth the risk of exposing others to such danger.

I find it interesting that—in spite of all the media hand-wringing about Republican crazies potentially taking shots at our first black president—there haven’t been any (that we know of) directed against Obama. On the other hand, there were two each against Republicans Reagan and Ford. My sense is that it has less to do with the alignments of potential crazies than with the tenor of the times. For all the rhetoric, my sense is that things are much more peaceable now than from the late 1960s through the mid 1980s. That was the era of the Manson Family, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the Black Panthers, the Red Army Faction and the Weather Underground (including Obama pals Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorn), not to mention mass insurrections (Watts, Detroit, Washington, Newark, Baltimore, Chicago, Stonewall-New York, et. al.) and routine airline hijackings. Violent crime has been falling steadily since 1993.

In spite of all our problems, I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to live than now.

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