Ron Reagan Jr. on Importance of Voicing Dissent

Ron Reagan Jr. on Importance of Voicing Dissent

In a November 6, 2016, Home page blog post, I shared a quotation from a Newsday article in which Ron Reagan, Jr., touched upon some of the differences in opinion that existed between himself and his father, Ronald Reagan.

In that same article (Karen Freifeld, “First Family Reunion” Mar. 13, 1989), he also spoke about how he wasn’t shy about openly disagreeing with his father, even though the White House was often populated with people who were: “There’s a tremendous urge, especially in the White House, to be a rooting gallery and never voice any dissent. I just refused to go along with that. I don’t think it does any good, least of all for the person who’s president or First Lady. You’ve got to have some real feedback.”

That quotation came rushing to mind as I reflected on the latest news events. How much less likely are those who are roaming the halls of the White House today, to voice dissent,  when we have a president who is so thin-skinned and unable to take or hear criticism — even when in jest — that he’s now become the first president to have skipped the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, in all of the 34 years since it’s morphed into becoming something akin to a roast. Though it began in 1921, only since 1983 has it taken on that quality of roasting the sitting president and his administration.

Indeed, it has been widely speculated that it was because of the humiliating roasting that he received at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, that he even decided to run for president in the first place.

Frontline produced a documentary on this very subject. You can watch it and decide for yourself. “Inside the Night President Obama Took On Donald Trump / The Choice 2016 / FRONTLINE” was published on the “FRONTLINE PBS / Official” YouTube channel.