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!

If you want to see some vitriol, check out Greg Palast’s article about him (Thanks to Jeff for the link).

§371 · June 24, 2004 · ·

2 Comments to “A piece of American iconography”

  1. Andy says:


    From a while ago. My contributions to this discourse were very limited. But the byplay between the posters called “me” and “troutboy” is quite good.

  2. Ben says:

    Why did that moron have to cite the Greg Palast article? It makes liberals look like baby-eating werecreatures.

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