Sunday, January 14, 2007

Illustration Friday, The 80s

In June 2004 the US mourned the passing of former president Ronald Reagan. Many were the accolades given by commentators on TV in Reagan's honor. I believe he was one of our great philosopher presidents (as was Woodrow Wilson).

But during his presidency all was not quiet on the home front. His policies and actions were vigorously debated. Many opposed what he said and did. Some opposition was honest and heartfelt, some was knee-jerk partisanship.

I think that, on balance, history will treat him kindly.

One of the defining moments in his presidency was when he called on Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. This electrifying quote is part of my illustration. Click here for the full text of Reagan's speech.

Many were Reagan's disparagers and hecklers; and even on that day they were there to make themselves heard. In Reagan's typical philosophical manner he ended that famous speech by addressing those demonstrating against his visit.

"And I would like, before I close, to say one word. I have read, and I have been questioned since I've been here about certain demonstrations against my coming. And I would like to say just one thing, and to those who demonstrate so. I wonder if they have ever asked themselves that if they should have the kind of government they apparently seek, no one would ever be able to do what they're doing again.

"Thank you and God bless you all."

George P. Shultz writes about Reagan's impact on Gorbachev, "Ronald Reagan had made an immense impression on Mikhail Gorbachev, who must have realized that he could not talk, con, bully, or in any other way manipulate Ronald Reagan..."

To Gorbachev's credit, the reforms he instituted in the Soviet Union eventually lead to the razing of the Berlin Wall.

I think Gorbachev didn't completely comprehend the ramifications of Glasnost and Perestroika. These policies shook the communist world and engendered a tsunami of irresistible events that he could not control. For Gorbachev's views click here.

I did this drawing in 1985, using a press photo for reference.


Rrramone said...

Nice portrait. And I got to hammer on the Berlin Wall while it was coming down. Lucky timing for me. :-)

Larry Lee said...

Wonderful portrait. I have found doing likenesses to be very difficult.

Michelle Lana said...

very nice...great illo.

chippamunkey said...

wow that is a very moving post! I love your illustration and the story behind it! Great work!

Twisselman said...

Yep, a definite highlight of that decade. Great job on the portrait.

Princess Pepper Cloud said...

Wonderful portrait... mostly what I remember from Ronald Reagan was Nancy's "Say no to Drugs" campaign.

Sorry about your SD Chargers, my husbands Seahawks lost too!

md said...

i always thought it be ronnie who would get us in a war but nope it took to bushes to do that. nice illo and commetary

Digital Scott's illustrationblog said...

Nice work! And I enjoyed the learning moment too!