The Corner

Reagan@100: He Won the McCotter Household’s Cold War, Too

By the time I turned 15 in 1980, I had grown acutely aware of a quadrennial rift between my parents. My father was a Truman Democrat; my mother was an Eisenhower Republican; and my brother and myself were KISS fans.

Then one cold November night, there was a thaw. My father walked in the door, sat my mother down, and in a hushed, tremulous tone — as if every fellow Irish Catholic Democrat he had known from his days in the St. Francis Home for Boys Orphanage, every worker in a Detroit Labor Day parade, and everybody on every St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl might somehow overhear him — Dennis Vincent Patrick Mullen McCotter admitted to his wife: “I can’t believe I went and did it, Joan. I voted for him.”

“Him” was Ronald Wilson Reagan. This vignette of American democracy’s unifying force occurred in millions of homes across our nation in 1980. The resulting national unity, which was brought about through the thawing of so many families’ political Cold Wars, ultimately led to the end of the global Cold War. Thus with Ronald Reagan did the words of Albert Camus ring true: “A man does not show his greatness by being at one extremity or the other, but rather by touching both at once.” Truly, President Reagan was a unifying force for moral good in our nation and our world. And though his legendary humility would have precluded him from ever agreeing, Ronald Reagan was a great and good man. May we be blessed enough to see his like again.

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter is a Republican from Michigan.

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