The children of Ronald Reagan have voiced their outrage after it emerged that Will Ferrell would star and produce Reagan, a Black List script from writer Mike Rosolio about the actor turned president's second term and his battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
A description of the film when it was named to the Black List said; “When Ronald Reagan falls into dementia at the start of his second term, an ambitious intern is tasked with convincing the Commander-In-Chief that he is an actor playing the President in a movie.”
Reagan’s children, Patti Davis and Michael Reagan, both lashed out at Ferrell with Michael writing on Twitter; “What an Outrage....Alzheimer’s is not joke...It kills…You should be ashamed all of you.”
Patti penned a letter to Ferrell:
Dear Mr. Ferrell,
“I saw the news bulletin—as did everyone—that you intend to portray my father in the throes of Alzheimer’s for a comedy that you are also producing. Perhaps you have managed to retain some ignorance about Alzheimer’s and other versions of dementia. Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous.
Alzheimer’s doesn’t care if you are President of the United States or a dockworker. It steals what is most precious to a human being—memories, connections, the familiar landmarks of a lifetime that we all come to rely on to hold our place secure in this world and keep us linked to those we have come to know and love.
I watched as fear invaded my father’s eyes—this man who was never afraid of anything. I heard his voice tremble as he stood in the living room and said, “I don’t know where I am.” I watched helplessly as he reached for memories, for words, that were suddenly out of reach and moving farther away.
For ten long years he drifted—past the memories that marked his life, past all that was familiar…and mercifully, finally past the fear.
There was laughter in those years, but there was never humor.
Alzheimer’s is the ultimate pirate, pillaging a person’s life and leaving an empty landscape behind. It sweeps up entire families, forcing everyone to claw their way through overwhelming grief, confusion, helplessness, and anger.
Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.
Twice a week I run a support group called Beyond Alzheimer’s for caregivers and family members of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. I look into haunted eyes that remind me of my own when my father was ill. I listen to stories of helplessness and loss and am continually moved by the bravery of those who wake up every morning not knowing who their loved one will be that day, or what will be lost.
The only certainty with Alzheimer’s is that more will be lost and the disease will always win in the end.
Perhaps you would like to explain to them how this disease is suitable material for a comedy.”I remember well when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, eulogized her political soul mate:
We have lost a great president, a great American, and a great man. And I have lost a dear friend.
In his lifetime Ronald Reagan was such a cheerful and invigorating presence that it was easy to forget what daunting historic tasks he set himself. He sought to mend America's wounded spirit, to restore the strength of the free world, and to free the slaves of communism. These were causes hard to accomplish and heavy with risk.
Yet they were pursued with almost a lightness of spirit. For Ronald Reagan also embodied another great cause—what Arnold Bennett once called `the great cause of cheering us all up'. His politics had a freshness and optimism that won converts from every class and every nation—and ultimately from the very heart of the evil empire.
Yet his humor often had a purpose beyond humor. In the terrible hours after the attempt on his life, his easy jokes gave reassurance to an anxious world. They were evidence that in the aftermath of terror and in the midst of hysteria, one great heart at least remained sane and jocular. They were truly grace under pressure.
And perhaps they signified grace of a deeper kind. Ronnie himself certainly believed that he had been given back his life for a purpose. As he told a priest after his recovery, “Whatever time I’ve got left now belongs to the Big Fella Upstairs.”
And surely it is hard to deny that Ronald Reagan's life was providential, when we look at what he achieved in the eight years that followed.
And when his enemies tested American resolve, they soon discovered that his resolve was firm and unyielding.
Ronald Reagan carried the American people with him in his great endeavors because there was perfect sympathy between them. He and they loved America and what it stands for—freedom and opportunity for ordinary people.
As an actor in Hollywood's golden age, he helped to make the American dream live for millions all over the globe. His own life was a fulfillment of that dream. He never succumbed to the embarrassment some people feel about an honest expression of love of country.
Ronald Reagan's life was rich not only in public achievement, but also in private happiness. Indeed, his public achievements were rooted in his private happiness. The great turning point of his life was his meeting and marriage with Nancy.
On that we have the plain testimony of a loving and grateful husband: `Nancy came along and saved my soul'. We share her grief today. But we also share her pride—and the grief and pride of Ronnie’s children.
For the final years of his life, Ronnie's mind was clouded by illness. That cloud has now lifted. He is himself again—more himself than at any time on this earth. For we may be sure that the Big Fella Upstairs never forgets those who remember Him. And as the last journey of this faithful pilgrim took him beyond the sunset, and as heaven's morning broke, I like to think—in the words of Bunyan—that `all the trumpets sounded on the other side.’
We here still move in twilight. But we have one beacon to guide us that Ronald Reagan never had. We have his example. Let us give thanks today for a life that achieved so much for all of God's children."
I bear no shame in confessing her words bring tears to my eyes even today twelve years after his passing.
I miss the great statesman deeply. The loss, for me, has been devastating. The America Reagan loved and defended mightily has coarsened and filled with hate.
In 1965, legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey, warned of America’s decline through permissiveness and liberalism in his famous broadcast, “If I Were the Devil”.
“If I were the devil, I would caution them not to be extreme in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct. And the old, I would teach to pray. I would teach them to say after me: “Our Father, which art in Washington…”Will Ferrell and all who are associated with the production of Reagan are gutless vultures—part of a cesspool of human garbage where the Left is venerated and the Right eviscerated.