This Daily Dispatch is in fond memory of Nancy Reagan (1921 – 2016) who recently died at the age of 94 years, the same age as her husband, President Ronald Reagan, when he died. I well remember working in the second Reagan administration in Washington, D.C., when there were still some competent professionals in government. (Instead of the political clowns and creatures that have since replaced them.)
Both before and after my time in the Reagan administration, I also knew Nancy’s brother, Dr. Richard Davis. He was a professor of neurosurgery at Penn Medical School and a Fellow of the College of Physicians in Philadelphia.
Nancy had actually been adopted as a young girl by Dr. Loyal Davis, a world-famous early 20th century neurosurgeon in Chicago, after her mother divorced her biological father in New York and remarried Dr. Davis. Their son, Richard, followed in the footsteps of his father, and ended up working and teaching at Penn.
I remember one hot, humid morning in June 1975, I arrived for my class at Penn taught by Richard Davis. He was practicing his golf swing at the front of the class, waiting for tardy students to arrive. (As a full professor, he did not wait long!)
We won’t see the likes of the Reagans again
I had just come to Penn from California where Ronald Reagan had recently finished his successful run as governor. (My father, a life-long “New Deal” Democrat, actually voted for Republican Ronald Reagan. He became one of those millions of “Reagan Democrats” years before the rest of the country. Reagan himself had started out as New Deal Democrat and famously said, “I did not leave the Democratic party, the Democratic party left me.”)
So, in June 1975 (a year before Reagan almost won the presidential nomination in 1976 and then became President five years later in 1980), I already knew a lot more than most of my classmates about his brother-in-law, Professor Davis. And I was fascinated by what he had to say.
Years later, in the late 1990s, when I ran the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, Richard Davis was a prominent member, or Fellow, of the College. Like many doctors, he was a world-class medical specialist and, in his case, had also been exposed by family association to amazing political history.
At the time, I remember Dr. Davis was wondering how to go about publishing his own memoirs. I had much more experience at that time in the literary and publishing worlds than he did. And we discussed more than once how to proceed. But I sensed he was more interested in pursuing his golf game in his spare time and we never saw those memoirs.
Regardless, we will not see the likes of the Reagans again.
Nancy Reagan was known, among other things, for her simple, straightforward attitude toward drug abuse during the 1980s. “Just say no” was her motto.
Of course, public health experts and politically correct pundits ridiculed her for essentially advising abstention. But the science shows abstinence works best of all. And that the best way to stop drugs, is to never start.
Politically correct double standards when it comes to drugs
Amazingly, the same politically correct crowd that ridiculed Nancy’s abstinence campaign fall all over themselves, and us, browbeating everybody with the very same message about smoking — to not start in the first place. Hmmmm….
Today, we face an epidemic of opioid drug abuse, as I recently reported. But instead of promoting abstinence to address the current crisis, public health officials promote every other cockamamie approach — including other drugs and vaccines –to solve the problem.
But let me tell you something…all good things in life, including good health, sometimes require the ability to “just say no.”
Of course, saying no requires self-discipline to follow healthy habits. Including the discipline to see past the myths, half-truths, and lies about healthcare put out by the crony capitalist government…and to seek out the truth using your own eyes and mind.
If you were not a disciplined person, I doubt you would be reading my Daily Dispatch or Insiders’ Cures in the first place. So you already have what it takes. But everybody needs a little extra help on occasion.
Nancy Reagan, may she rest in peace, had something important to say all along. And we would all do well to listen.