The 1984 Regan election in a red state

I grew up in a Midwestern Catholic-Republican environment. I was born in Connecticut, but my family was in Illinois and I did most of my growing up in Cincinnati. I spent a portion of my education in Catholic schools and some time in public schools… but I went to Sunday School the whole time.

The first presidential election I remember was when Regan, already the president, won in 1984. At that point in time, I was in a Catholic grade school. I do not remember anything about the campaign, just that one day we all had a mock election. To teach the kids about democracy, I guess.

I distinctly remember my grade school teacher telling us that we should hope that Regan won. I’m not sure if she used the word ‘Hope’ or ‘Pray’, although the latter would make for a better story. Anyway, she told us that we wanted Republicans to win, because the Democrats wanted to ‘sell the country to the Russians’.

So, when we had the school election for president and one of the nuns went over the intercom to tell us that Regan had won our little mock election, everybody cheered.

I think, at the time, I took it at face value. The Russians were evil and they didn’t believe in God and so on..

I was talking to a friend when Regan died about this. She’s older than I am and had a very different upbringing. And she told me that her main memory of Regan was that she’d probably end up dying in a nuclear war before becoming an adult and the laundry list of tributes associated with Regan was kind of sickening. (My paraphrasing)

At the present time, I don’t revere President Regan, either the real President Regan or the mythical President Regan of the modern right wing, very much.