An Open Letter to the Children of Ronald Reagan


Writing about a late president is never an act I thought I’d take on, as I do in my memoir Redemption How Ronald Reagan Nearly Ruined My Life. Nor did I ever think I’d hang out all my life’s dirty laundry. I was always so much more interested in fiction. But truth is stranger than fiction. And I’ve become a firm believer that our duties find us. And I have a duty now.

It took me 30 years of anger toward my father to finally paint a different picture of my life. It’s not easy growing up as the daughter of a federal criminal, and certainly Timothy did not help ease that shadow-like feeling over my life since I was 13. I simply share a surname with that particular villain and my mission in life is quite the opposite – I’m a stand for children, and those of the next generation.

My father, a kind man who would give his shirt to anyone in need, got caught up in the 1981 union strike. Reagan had made promises to the union and then didn’t deliver. My father took a stand for honesty, along with a few other issues, such as safety equipment. And we were all shocked when President Reagan gave these 17,000 federal workers two days to return to work or be fired. I was 13 years old and I remember one night laying awake in the dark absolutely terrified, waiting for the FBI to come arrest my father.

They didn’t arrest my father, but they did get others and we were scared and my mother cried a lot. It’s illegal for a federal employee to strike. But, who is right? Reagan had also made promises that he didn’t keep. They had no choice.

I held anger toward my father for his decision, as many, including my grandfather, a WW2 Veteran, told me that what my father did was wrong, a decision that put us into years of emotional and financial turmoil, losing childhood dreams and security. I lost my precious guitar lessons and all funding and support to study oceanography at  Santa Barbara UC.  And, I lost complete faith in my country, especially regarding politics, news and education.

And although President Clinton rehired many of the fired air traffic controllers during his administration, my father was already too old. Everything he had worked for up until 50 years of age went down the drain.

Five years ago after producing on an ocean documentary film, featuring Dr. Sylvia Earle, I discovered something tremendous – my working class, good hearted father took a stand against a rotten president! The “Hero” of the Republican Party! 

And today I understand I’ve got some big family heritage to uphold. It’s not politics for me. It’s personal and it goes deep.

I reached out kindly to Patti Davis, the daughter of Reagan. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to be the daughter of a president and be in the limelight all the time, unlike me living in the shadows. I knew she had protested against her father’s policies in the 1980s and as I’ve come to understand Reagan’s economic, environmental, energy and labor policies, we can pretty much point the finger at Reagan for the DISASTER our country and entire planet have become, including economic disparity, oil wars, ocean acidification and loss of Democracy.

I shared some very powerful ideas with Patti via email, believing she might want to unite with me, projects for the homeless and immigrant communities, in order to help make right of the wrongs her father committed with his economic and international policies. Reagan’s trickle down idea, “Reagonomics,” has been a disaster, making the rich richer and everyone else, the 99%, poor.  He also supported a Guatemalan president who is now serving prison for genocide, one who murdered the kindest, most gentle Maya indigenous mountain communities.

However, my appeal to Patti Davis earned me emails  –  “fuck off” and “fuck off, bitch”  – and she threatened to sue me! Her high powered attorney Brad Small of Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman LLP, a fancy entertainment law firm in Los Angeles sent me a nasty letter with words to “govern myself accordingly.”

I’m a single mom of two kids and sleep on a sofa. I live with cockroaches in my apartment because it’s the cheapest in the area. I make $25 an hour helping a man with dementia and work at a local cafe for $10/hour, wages less than I made twenty years ago. I give time to the homeless, the immigrant communities and voluntarily host a public access media television program, as I understand it’s important to uphold media integrity, so I try. AND I scrape time, people and energy together to make documentary films to help solve environmental problems. In fact, the State of California is on my for $50,000 because I allowed a nonprofit organization teaching children about ocean acidification to use my mailbox! Long story there. Here I am, in poverty, trying to take care of the egregious failures of our government and education and she calls me these horrid names? My projects do not earn me money. They are more like duties.  In fact, I have to get food at a local food bank and I only buy second hand clothes or people have given me clothes. I try only to use public transportation and use my electric bike. Yes, I have a self published book, a three year passion endeavor that earned me today’s sofa spot. Why would she be so mean to me? I’m living an honest, good life! She could get inspired!

I reached out to Patti at this time, because as I watch Trump initiate policies, I see a grim reminder of everything Reagan did during his administration and I personally understand the horror of such policies. 

Reagan’s policies mirror
Trump’s economic, environmental and energy policies!


Oh, at times we do forget.

Jimmy Carter had us on a great path with solar and wind initiatives and urged the American people not to vote for a right wing radical, which is how he labeled Reagan. Jimmy’s administration and vision were A Road Not Taken.

Reagan’s policies pushed our country so far right that that’s the spectrum we’ve all been in for the last 35 years, a shadow of his administration that still controls much of our lives, including economic, media and energy decisions. That’s why leaders like Bernie Sanders and Jimmy Carter seem so left. No, they are normal. Our society has become right wing.

With the impending environmental, economic and energy issues that we are facing, we all must come together. It’s amazing to see how Reagan’s daughter,  Patti Davis, could today look at the past and say “Daddy, I was right!” when she protested against her father’s polices, an act that was an embarrasment to her family. She unnerved them more and the media hounded her viciously when she dated a member of The Eagles. She was a kick ass woman who had a very deep feeling for what was right and was likely a driven artist without the proper support, encouragement and respect. I honor her for that. But, like many today, perhaps she has lost her way in what is right. Maybe there is still hope for her. I would encourage her to remember her days of the 1980s and take a stand today, revealing the policy woes of her father and acknowledge that we are all human. Let’s forgive but learn from the past.

I had also met Michael Reagan about three years ago. In my first effort ever, I stepped out of my shy, reserved self, to speak boldly at the Ronald Reagan Museum. Michael was giving his book signing for The Lessons My Father Taught Me. Well, I thought, my father taught ME a few lessons, too! And so I said so publicly!  I was using my voice for the first time since I was 13 years old, afraid of my country.  Then there came another first time –   I was threatened with arrest and kicked out of the museum! The feeling was liberating because I was speaking truth and I knew I must do EVERYTHING in my power to speak that truth.

I politely asked the security guard to repeat his words – “if you don’t leave now I will arrest you.” I’ve never heard such words before! And on my drive home, I was ready to scream it to the world! I’m a rebel and I’m speaking many truths that need to be screamed!

Time for Reagan’s policies, the “Hero of the Republican Party” to come clean!

It’s easy to point fingers at Trump for all the problems. Yes all his policies merely mirror what Reagan did 35 years ago and got us on a very, very bad track. We also MUST point fingers at ourselves. We have been Trump in this past generation, valuing greed, egos and money, a culture the was beginning to build under Reagan and the reigns were then given to the most greedy, ego centric, money hungry leaders, many of whom are under Trump’s Administration today. Even the leading Democrats have fallen under the right wing guise. We’ve all been swimming in this culture.

Carter had said “we are beginning to value people for how much they have instead of what they do.” He was right and now it’s time to start valuing the people who are standing for all the people. Can we become a kinder, more compassionate and more service oriented society? Yes, we can.

We must recognize these Reagan truths and glean from our past mistakes, collectively and take responsibility. Then we can ALL come clean with who we have been and why and bring attention to the greatest environmental and social movement any country has ever endured. Our future generation depends on our actions today.

We just need confidence.

I urge the Reagan children to join me with that force. It’s a force of forgiveness and unity and I do believe we could do it. . . if they just had confidence.

What do you say?

A few resources for you. A new film has been released called:
The Reagan Show.

Catch it online and understand the truth behind the story.


Education consists mostly of what we unlearn.Mark Twain



Also, feel free to see our panel discussion when we celebrated Carter’s 93rd birthday with a screening of A Road Not Taken. It was a powerhouse weeklong event, supported by our local elected officials, helping to reestablish a vision we should have all stood for in 1979 when Carter urged us to have confidence with a new sustainable energy economy, citing to be independent of energy is the “Moral Equivalent of War.”

Reagan and his supporters touted Carter’s speech as “MEOW.” And that gives greater meaning to all the pink pussy hats people are wearing today!


It is time the American public honors President Jimmy Carter on the highest level possible. Thank you, Mr. President for a lesson learned. The people are beginning to understand sacrifice and truth.
And we will deliver.


Not Under My Watch! Offshore Drilling Proposal

I love the oceans. The oceans gave me complete freedom and the value of freedom. I will never turn my back on the oceans. Never.

Our oceans are under threat more now than ever before. As we face the hard truths of ocean acidification and the horrific plastic pollution that now saturates our vast waters, beaches and waterways, we MUST come clean with our horrific landlubber habits. From our addiction to automobiles to consumptive behaviors, now is time to tack to a new course before it’s too late and this generation views us as the most criminal pirate gang the world has ever seen. We MUST take responsibility. It’s not a question about “education,” it’s about activism and responsibility.

You’re either on board, or your not. It’s as simple as that.

Here is my article on Sailing Anarchy, describing my own passion and why I have it. And maybe it’s your passion too, a quality you didn’t even know you possessed. And if you’re not feeling it, NOW is the time to get into the groove. We can do it! Just listen to Simon and Garfunkel’s song. They’ll get you inspired! And you’ll start feeling the groovy.

It’s that easy! We can do it!




Comments can be made through the web portal. Navigate to and under the Search tab, in the space provided, type in Docket ID: BOEM-2017-0074 to submit comments and to view other comments already submitted. Information on using, including instructions for accessing documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket after the close of the comment period, is available through the links under the box entitled “Are you new to this site?”

Comments can also be made by mail, in an envelope labeled “Comments for the 2019-2024 Draft Proposed National Oil and Gas Leasing Program” and mailed (or hand delivered) to Ms. Kelly Hammerle, Chief, National Oil and Gas Leasing Program Development and Coordination Branch, Leasing Division, Office of Strategic Resources, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (VAM-LD), 45600 Woodland Road, Sterling, VA 20166-9216, telephone (703) 787-1613. Written comments may also be hand delivered at a public meeting to the BOEM official in charge.  


Mon, Jan 8, 6pm – Book Passage, San Francisco

Left Coast Writers®: Barbara McVeigh – Redemption (San Francisco)

Monday, January 8, 2018 – 6:00pm

“My father is a federal criminal. My father is a hero,” Barbara McVeigh writes in her memoir Redemption: How Ronald Reagan Nearly Ruined My Life.

Reagan fired her father for a union strike in 1981, leading him and 11,500 other families into years of strife. Just eleven years old, she lost her dream to become an oceanographer, and her beloved guitar lessons, as her family struggled emotionally and financially for years. She blamed her father for “following his ego,” as her grandfather had termed it, and not placing family first. Reagan’s heroic public image soared as America was told how he combated the alleged threats of communism, nuclear war and the Soviet Empire. Thirty years later, Barbara marries and then takes up sailing at her late great uncle’s urging, himself a passionate and accomplished sailor, who had been her best friend, where she finds an unexpected connection to the ocean and freedom of the complexities of the modern world.

When hard, bitter truths emerge about the ocean’s health and her fourteen-year marriage, Barbara packs her bags and leaves the illusory “good life.” She takes the helm of not one, but two film projects, one with the world’s paramount oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, and the other with renowned Brazilian guitarist Jose Neto. She does this with no experience and virtually no money, to reclaim her childhood dreams and, in a desperate effort, to remind the world of the awe, beauty, and truth we must always stand for. During her projects she confronts the dark shadows of Reagan’s energy, labor, health, media, and environmental policies, revealing horrific truths about America’s so-called “Hero of the Republican Party.” She discovers that her father was NOT the federal criminal Reagan accused him of being. Instead, her father is a hero today.

Barbara shares her very personal and painful family story of three generations and her search for truth that led her to China, Cuba, the Balkans, across Europe, and ultimately back to her own home, the San Francisco Bay. There she discovers herself, and what it means to be free in America today as our world faces political, social and environmental threats unlike any before. Barbara has a new dream and sees now that the spirits are guiding her, just as they had been, all along.

Barbara McVeigh is a writer, educator, filmmaker, radio host and environmentalist. She’s the mother of two children and lives in Northern California. Her one mission: to advocate respect for the natural world as we face political, social and environmental threats unlike ever before.


1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111