Considering that they were a prime target of Reagan’s cruelest characterizations and policies, black leaders have shown in the way they’ve responded that they’re a class act.
Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Mich., told BlackAmericaToday.com: “I, like many Americans was saddened to learn of the passing of President Reagan. Over a quarter century of service to his country, the president led with resolve and courage, and showed those same qualities in his personal life, as he battled Alzheimer’s. He will be remembered for many things: a great communicator, devoted husband and an unflinching patriot. But although I didn’t agree with him on every issue, I will remember him most for reminding America that when we are at our best, very little can deter or defeat us. Thank you , Mr. President, and God bless you.”As for Reagan’s record specific to African Americans, Ford said: “It will be checkered. I’ve been on record over the years expressing my differences with the president – on soaring deficits and disregard about the nation’s safety net. There will be time to analyze that. On the day we grieve his passing, I would want people to focus (on other things). Just like I pass, I would hope people would focus on the things that I did to make the public space better. He will have a legacy with the conservative movement that differs slightly or in a big ways with others in the country, including most Democrats and African Americans. There are things that he did well and there are thing he should be applauded for doing. His legacy as it is scrutinized and probed for years to come, we will be able to pull from the good and reveal things that are not so good.”
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (courtesy of the Detroit Free Press ): “He’ll have two different legacies. He’ll be cemented as the symbolic political leader of conservatives forever. It’s no secret that African Americans didn’t have a strong affinity for his policies, like trickle down economics. That decimated urban areas. But he also was a president of the greatest country in the world and I send my condolences to his family.”
Actor Danny Glover at an anti-war rally in Los Angeles (courtesy of the Associated Press via the Chicago Sun-Times ): “We all know Reagan’s legacy, from the Iran-Contra affair to the funding of the Nicaraguan military in which over 200,000 people died. The groundwork for the move steadily to the right happened with the Reagan administration. People want to elevate him to some mythic level; they have their own reason for doing that.”
All things considered, I doubt I would be able to be that gracious if I had been in their shoes during those years.
(Thanks to Rox Populi for the link)