A Jeb Bush tweet this week got me thinking about some of the ways our nasty partisan politics has been hurting our kids.

Paraphrasing Jeb, he asked, “How can parents teach their children that using bad language is wrong when we have a president and members of Congress who constantly use profanity to talk about each other?”

Jeb’s tweet also reminded me of something a wise Sunday school teacher of mine said once: “There are more things ‘caught’ than ‘taught.’ “

I often quote that line when I’m invited to speak to parents, and I thought about it again on Wednesday when I took some kids on a tour of my dad’s library in Simi Valley.

It was nice to go to the Reagan Library and be reminded of the positive attitude my father had about politics, his political opponents and people in general.

On my father’s tomb, for example, is the message, “I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.”

I don’t know how many of the kids I was with the other day were equipped to catch that optimistic message.

It’s really sad that they’re growing up in such a hateful political and cultural environment that has so little room for tolerance or civil debate.

Even a beloved liberal comedian like Ellen DeGeneres can get blasted by the Hollywood left just for sitting with her friend George W. Bush at a football game.

What happened to DeGeneres is a sign of how stupid and low our nasty partisan politics are.

Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, you can’t be seen in public with someone from the other political tribe without catching hell or hate from your own tribe.

Those kids I was with at the library were too young to know it, but there was a time before Twitter, Facebook and 1,000 cable TV channels when the most powerful people in politics could disagree vehemently yet still be civil to each other.

One of the most famous examples of that political civility and mutual respect was the relationship my father had with the Democrat Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill.

Not as well-known was the time my father was asked in 1985 to give a fundraising speech for the John F. Kennedy Library.

In 1960 my father had campaigned hard against JFK. But when he was President and he was asked by John and Caroline Kennedy to help them kick off an endowment drive for the JFK Library, he did it graciously and enthusiastically.

Praising JFK for being, among many other things, “a patriot” who had “a good hard, un-illusioned understanding of man and his political choices,” my father admitted he had not supported Kennedy for president.

“But you know,” he said, “it’s true: when the battle’s over and the ground is cooled, well, it’s then that you see the opposing general’s valor.”

That kind of civility being shown to a political opponent could never happen today in Washington, where Democrats and Republicans hate each other, call each other bad names and refuse to cooperate or compromise.

As for our kids today, they’re being taught by the bad example of adults to hate the political tribe they don’t belong to. It’s reinforced24/7 on TV, in social media and college campuses.

If we’re not careful we’re going to end up like Israel, where the Palestinian kids and the Israeli kids don’t play with each other and are raised from infancy to hate each other.

Maybe there’s still time for our children to turn to their parents and tell them it’s time for them to grow up and stop hating.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “Lessons My Father Taught Me: The Strength, Integrity, and Faith of Ronald Reagan.”

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(19) comments

HwyRovr

bob b, “I seriously doubt that he writes anything other than the crap that he puts out here.” I won‘t bother to go through this again because Capt Sillyhat demanded I list my books and articles for him a few weeks ago and I complied and even after he verified the information he continued to lie. And I am not surprised to see yet another of the haters showing disrespect for a veteran – why do you losers do that?

simon1dog

Do you want cream and sugar in your coffee? That my friend is free with the purchase.

simon1dog

Newspapers throughout the country think highly enough of Mr. Michael Reagan's opinions, to print his column and pay the man "big bucks" for doing so. Mr. Howdy Roverenski as a comparison, composes daily opinions read by a couple of his cloned pals, and couldn't trade an opinion for a cup of coffee. Here's a crumpled dollar bill from my shirt pocket Howdy, go buy yourself a cup.

HwyRovr

Actually political columnists do not make "big bucks" and some are paid nothing by newspapers, instead are funded by special interest groups. You are right my "opinions" are written for our local paper, however I am paid well for my articles that appear in various publications. As to my local readers I am amazed that Simple considers himself, Capt Sillyhat, VA172, JVW and a few other morons as being my "cloned pals." And please keep your dollar, I don't want to take away your weeks food allowance.


VA172

Rovr. I am simply amazed at how much hate can be in one person's mind. If your "articles" are anything like your "opinions", I wouldn't waste my time looking at them. Are these opinions you write something your children or relatives applaud? You are part of the problem today. Spread your hatred. I'm sure you believe that is good for our society. Moron? You truly are one.

HwyRovr

"HwyRovr" - Oink, oink, oink goes Lil Squealy.


VA172

The only answer you have when I'm right.

bob b

I seriously doubt that he writes anything other than the crap that he puts out here. Like his alleged military heroics, I think that he lives in a fantasy world in his mother's basement.

simon1dog

You are right my "opinions" are written for our local paper, however I am paid well for my articles that appear in various publications. "Where are my hip boots?"

HwyRovr

Lil Mikey's father was most famous for made-up stories, depending on an astrologer in the White House and losing his mind. This latest incarnation of a blithering idiot has surpassed Ronald The Dim when it comes to being goofier than a box of Palin's. And I cannot believe his language - I'm no prude and can cuss with the best of them, but never when speaking in front of a group. To actually hear the president of the United States shout "BS" (I'm not allowed to use the full word here) at a crowd of backward fools wearing stupid red-caps is just wrong.

VA172

"losing his mind". Now your making fun of a person that suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

"And I cannot believe his language". You better also comment on Perez and some of his stump speeches.

HwyRovr

Lil Squealy and his oink, oink, oink once again.


VA172

You don't really have a reply, do you.

HwyRovr

Anyone suffering from Alzheimer's should not be holding any public office, least of all the presidency of the United States and I did not make fun, I simply pointed out the fact. And Perez is not the President of the United States and has been called out many time for his language. So, I assume you do not have a problem with the disgusting low-life currently in the White House cursing like a sailor (sorry Capt Sillyhat) during his campaign speeches? Heck even Tricky Richard wasn't that stupid - he cussed in private and was caught on tape.

VA172

Not a problem with it.

bob b

Or, Beto O'Rourke, he of the "F" bomb.

HwyRovr

Yep, and I did not agree with his saying that, however Beto is not the president of the United States who, at the very least, is supposed to exhibit a modicum of decorum when speaking in public.

simon1dog

Can't argue with Michael here. He definitely "rowed the boat ashore" on this column.

HwyRovr

One cannot help but laugh out loud at Simple and the losers he supports.


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