Patti Davis the only daughter and oldest child of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Ms. Davis is the author of the forthcoming book “Dear Mom and Dad: A Letter About Family, Memory, and the America We Once Knew.” She writes at ‘The New York Times’ in particular:
“Long before my father ran for office, politics sat between us at the dinner table. The conversations were predictable: Big government was the problem, the demon, the thing America had to be wary of. I hated those conversations. I wanted to talk about the boy who bullied me on the school bus, not government overreach.
In time I came to resent this country for claiming so much of him. Yet today, it’s his love for America that I miss most. His eyes often welled with tears when “America the Beautiful” was played, but it wasn’t just sentiment. He knew how fragile democracy is, how easily it can be destroyed. He used to tell me about how Germany slid into dictatorship, the biggest form of government of all.
I wish so deeply that I could ask him about the edge we are teetering on now, and how America might move out of its quagmire of anger, its explosions of hatred. How do we break the cycle of violence, both actual and verbal? How do we cross the muddy divides that separate us, overcome the partisan rancor that drives elected officials to heckle the president in his State of the Union address?
So what would my father say about the decline of civility and the ominous future of our democracy? I don’t think he would address his party’s front-runner at all. I think he would focus on the people who cheer at that candidate’s rallies.
My father believed in a realm beyond this earthly one, so maybe he hears my whispers. Maybe he sees the sad chaos in the country he loved so much. And maybe some of the tears I shed for America are his.”
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