Art can reflect – sometimes foreshadow – life. It has before, it may again. In 1976, America was low, next few years tough. A governor named Ronald Reagan ran for the Republican presidential nomination, lost to incumbent Gerald Ford, who lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter – who delivered double digit inflation, interest rates, and unemployment. But the Big Wheel…was starting to turn.
America was tired of the 1960s and early 1970s self-hate, unruly riots, unconstitutional violence, then Carter’s default to a long sigh in baby-blue cardigan, “malaise” or “crisis of confidence” speech. Carter felt America’s greatest days were behind us.
Reagan had a different view, held with unblinking clarity: Our best days were ahead of us. Where Carter saw unending recession, uncontrollable inflation, perpetual Soviet advances, unstoppable communism, energy woes for as far as the eye could see – Reagan saw the reverse, prosperity, stability, energy independence, the end of Soviet rule, vanquishing of an evil empire.
Democrats thought Reagan was crazy, or worse, a war monger. He was, of course, neither. He was a visionary, who never lost his convictions, compass, or commitment to the future he envisioned.
Funny thing is, America was ready for Reagan – ready to be done with the doldrums. Movies – which catered to popular taste – turned from celebrating dysfunction, dystopia, and disaffection for America’s traditions, history, and heroic character – to the reverse.
In 1976, a character called “Rocky” showed up – got beaten like Reagan in 1976 but came back. Rocky landed winning punches in sequels 2, 3, and 4, in 1979, 1982, and 1985. In 1985, the fictional can-do boxer took down his Soviet counterpart.
Like Rocky, Reagan won with resolve, becoming President in 1980, was reelected in the 1984 landslide realigning “Blue Collar Democrats” behind his goals – smaller government, lower taxes, national security, respect for history, good moral compass, ending abortion, remembering the power of courage.
Six years later, pressed by a visionary Democrats called crazy and aggressive, the Soviet Union – which Reagan called an “evil empire” – vanished, fell, was no more. Perhaps not coincidentally, 1977, 1980, and 1983 saw a resurgence of heroism – in the Star Wars series, pitting valor against cosmic tyranny.
At the same time, popular culture celebrated a return of courage, can-do, heroism, victory against odds, never-say-never, and damn-the-torpedoes in movies like Star Trek series in 1979 1982, 1986, and 1989, Indiana Jones movies in 1981, 1984, and 1989, Superman movies in 1978, 1980, 1983, and 1987.
Arguably, the most iconic movie – with direct connect to the US Navy, celebrating individual courage, teamwork, patriotism practiced with precision – was Top Gun, debuting in 1986. Expected to be a ho-hum film, viewership shot through the roof, up 45 percent four weeks after release. It grossed $357 million on a production budget of $15 million.
Notably, several years ago, the Library of Congress placed the film in the pantheon of the National Film registry, as “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.” Who knew? Actually, the American People knew, that is who.
And that is the point. Sometimes the people do as people should, lead the process, forsake the political narrative, dump the doldrums, force the country to come ‘round into the wind, press the nation forward – as in every troubled era, surmounting every “crisis of confidence.”
Betting on courage, history, and freedom’s triumph, Americans go through cycles where they indulge negativity and nonsense, then lift their heads, shake off calls to give up, give in to “malaise.” They refocus, reorient their compass, resolve not to be undone, and get on with the program, rebuilding the great American economy, from energy to empathy, resolving that honor and history do matter.
And here is the funny part. After a down cycle, time in that dark troth of self-doubt, we tend to roar back, and in those moments find confidence few knew we had – except for us. Somewhere deep, Americans know – we can surmount the challenge, rally to the fight, beat the odds, win the day.
One sign that we are on that path is the art we celebrate, the books, scripts, themes, and movies we create, which draw us toward the light, lift us to our full potential, remind us of who we are.
Perhaps no coincidence, then, that for the first time since the 1980s, a second “Top Gun” film was released this year. In a few short weeks, it has grossed more than one billion dollars, a record for this year and for that timeframe.
Why? Because we are ready, once again, to be done with negativity and nonsense, high inflation, interest and unemployment, withdrawal from world leadership, diffidence and stumbling at home, done with deference to communism and Marxism in our schools, done with those who dump on courage, who undermine the military, police, border security, science, and common sense. We are done.
Here is the kicker – watch out for America when we decide, as a nation of historically courageous, unstoppable, tightly focused patriots, that we are “done.” The Big Wheel turns. We press forward again, to a higher altitude, refreshed and convinced – in Reagan’s words – that our “best days are ahead.” Art reflects – and sometimes foreshadows – life. It does both now. Our best days are ahead.
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I believe America CAN comeback but everything is not wine and roses. Regardless of who is voted into office, we MUST reject the woke mentality and teach our young people the value of FREEDOM. Also, we MUST show people everywhere why America MUST stay independent and not fall prey to the one world philosophy or become another of the look alike countries of Europe. America has a strong Constitution that provides freedom and was given to us from God. We CANNOT give that up. EVER.
From an ex Brit and RAF vet, bloody good show sir. I salute you!.
We’ve been through some rough times, but thanks to our system of government, optimism is always baked into this cake. You could say it’s never done; the president or the party is either renewed with the next election or is rejected by the people for a better alternative.
Seabiscuit, in the early 2000’s, depicting triumph against the odds during the Great Depression.
ANOTHER STONE COLD STUNNER FROM BOBBY CHUCK!
THIS GUY CHUCKS!
I’ve been around a long time and as far as I’m concerned President Trump has been the best President for the United States of America. Problem with his Administration is the deep state constantly drove a crooked crow bar up his ass and he could not move without these lying bastards either suing him or having a congressional BS session. He had done more for America with the exception of our forefathers. This is the fix:
The average native born American has become complacent, I know many law abiding gun owners who boast of their gun collections but will not raise a finger to defend their 2ND Amendment rights.As a former Brit and life member of the NRA and GOA, I feel that a day is coming that will make such people regret their complacency.
RBC an excellent article. A lot of us conservatives cycle through this route, even now. A lot of us know America is better than the poor lot the communists want us to settle for.
All we truly need is decent leadership and to get the feckless, traitorous RINOs and commies out of office. For a very long time.
We need Trump to have his FULL term. There is a law that says when one is mistreated and kept from leading, like Trump was, they get their ‘time’ back. So it should’ve returned.
8 years of Trump.
8 years of DeSantis.
8 years of Trump Jr.
America would be firmly on the path of healing. Assuming we start riding America of all the Traitors….
Trump’s presidency continues its MAJOR impact on the lawless socialist swamp! it’s noisey, but necessary. whether Trump, DeSantis or whomever, they better not be shrinking violets and be hard as nails vs all enemies inside and out. NOT THE TIME FOR SECOND CHANCES. BE CLEAR! We are under MORTAL attack, likely until there is a conclusive outcome. We need Trump or one AS TOUGH AS HE IS who confronts the enemies with forceful language, ready to act on them now AND KNOWS HOW TO WIN.
Thank you! A very uplifting article. I pray you are correct.
On Independence Day I looked at all the movies on my satellite service that were supposed to be pro – America. Almost all did not have any content about the source of our exceptional Country, the Constitution, and the importance of limiting government as being necessary to remain free. The Broadway musical ” 1776 ” was very good. ” Independence Day “, the science fiction ( ish ) movie was about global humanity, including hidden government bases, beating cartoon aliens. Some lists of patriotic movies I looked up had it listed as the #1 patriotic movie ever! Reagan and Trump must only be the beginning of our systemic restoration of our Constitution at every level of government. Parents must remove their kids from all ” public ” schools or they will have no chance to enjoy what we celebrate on our real Independence Day!
TRUMP WON THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS IT! THE ILLEGITIMATE STUMBLING
BOOB THATS IN THERE NOW IS A,,,,,,,,,,,,TRAITOR
President Ronald Reagan was the best President of my lifetime, He was a man of his word, I proudly have a picture hanging on the wall that was taken with President Reagan. Only 2 other President come close to his Qualities, First, President Donald Trump, and Second the only Democrat President John Kennedy. All others both Democrat, and Republican were one world Government Zealots, greedy and power hunger, with Obama and Biden being the worst of the worst.
It will be a long time before we see greatness rise again.
God Save America!
Boy, I pray hard that another Ronald Reagan comes along & runs for President. Like you, Reagan was very best POTUS of my lifetime. He had the charisma to lead & unite this nation.
Thanks, johnh, He was a great man, I will be forever thankful for the opportunity I had to meet him, he saved America from destruction by Jimmy Carter, another sorry Democrat, the last 5 Democrats have been worthless, your rights and freedoms are at risk, whenever the DEMONRATS have power!
From your lips to God’s ears!
Deb, thank you … May we hope and pray that He is listening, and protects this great and good nation. Recent signs are encouraging – thank you!