I should have done this weeks ago, but for some odd reason, I never got around to it.
Ronald Reagan is dead at 93, a victim of Alzheimer’s disease. He was a father, husband, actor, president, sometimes all at once. While the media ran long-winded tributes and two-bit politicians on both sides of the political spectrum eulogized him until they were blue in the face. My problem is this: conservatives (and even some of the more centrist liberals) celebrated not only his role as a father and a warm and fuzzy American icon, but his capacities as head of state as well. This begs the question: why have we suddenly forgotten about Reagan’s faults?
I won’t be one to speak ill of the man like some of the more vicious opponents: “He was a shitty president; I’m glad he’s dead!” Neither will I call into question his fatherly qualities, which were somewhat in doubt but still praised by his children after his death. However, I hardly think it fair to the ideal of free and honest political discourse (if such a thing exists anymore) to give the man tabula rasa as our president from 1980-1988. You can propose that he made the economy boom, stopped the Cold War, and revitalized the American spirit, but I would likewise assert that he wasted billions on Star Wars, introduced supply-side econonomics that patently didn’t work, and oversaw the Iran-Contra scandal.
Why is America so fascinated with Ronald Reagan, then? Because he spearheaded the modern conservative movement? Because he was charismatic? Well, naturally, the man was an actor!