No need to remember Reagan. Just look at whatever American politics one IS able to remember and see his shadow cast over it all. Reagan changed everything and it never changed back.
But if some asshole leaders were able to crush idealism, there never would be any in the first place. My idealism, at least, comes from a believe that it is possible to change the world for the better on a local community level and that if lots and lots of communities did this on their own then the evil leaders would become largely irrelevent. My idealism comes from a belief that although we have been fighting for a long long time, we've had some victories and success stories from time to time and inevitably, one day, we will shut those assholes down.
Maybe it'll take generations but really the struggle itself is more inspiring to me than sucking it up and taking the beating.