“Our Best Hopes…”

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“And whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts.”

This quote from Ronald Reagan’s 1992 Republican Convention speech has struck me powerfully today.

Those who know me know that I rarely quote Reagan or Republicans (though my other favorite quote of the 40th President is “There’s no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.“)

But with the current campaign climate and all its nastiness, a change of tone surfaced when this quote came up during the coverage of the passing of Nancy Reagan today.

The lovely and circumspect quote above clarified to me why this season’s Republican presidential campaign is so distasteful and disgusting to me:

No one is appealing to our “best hopes.” Everyone is appealing to our “worst fears.”

That is precisely why no one is inspiring my “confidence.” The candidates have instead sensationalized and over-generalized various topics, pitted groups of Americans against each other, lashed out at other nations and cultures, demeaned their fellow candidates, magnified people’s doubts, and turned the whole affair into a circus when it could have been an intelligent, compassionate and cogent series of dialogues and debates.

Not that such tactics are anything new. But I’d like to think that one day our country will have a handful of candidates on both sides of the aisle who don’t merely quote their beloved predecessors every 2.3 minutes but actually emulate them — or better yet, surpass them as servant-leaders. Here’s to hoping.

Onward.

 

Thank you, Debbie.

This piece appeared on my blog one year ago. I repost it today in honor of beloved teacher and friend, Debbie Kelly, on the one-year anniversary of her passing on Aug. 9, 2015.


 

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Our daughters’ brave and beautiful kindergarten teacher, Debbie Kelly, passed away tonight after several months of tremendous suffering from her second occurrence of cancer. Both cancer fights came during the years our daughters had her, and although she had to go on medical leave both years, Debbie bonded strongly with our girls in a short time and nourished them with great care and a foundation of learning and love we will always cherish. We are so grateful we had the chance to tell her how much she meant to us, in our final conversations and communications.

Debbie had the same kind of impact on the countless students blessed to have had her as a teacher. The hundreds and hundreds of notes, letters, drawings, gifts, and poems written to her, delivered to her, and read to her during her final days are priceless, and I can only hope and pray they bring her courageous husband and two young children comfort in the months and years to come.

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