ANOTHER SIDE OF REAGAN’S LEGACY

Mostly, the past weekend was a wonderful time. My wife and I made a trip to Massachusetts so that she could attend the wedding of her college roommate. The wedding was very nice, and the former roommate was a charming woman. I offer my best wishes to the happy couple. Two of our friends from California (whom we had visited a couple of years ago when they were living in Boston) were also in the area, and we all joined with another friend (who lives in northern New Hampshire) to indulge in one of our favorite dining experiences in the whole wide world: Peyton Place Restaurant. Ah, the joys of pre-summer.

The only negative aspect of the past few days– it is something I have been able to relegate to a minor psychic status due to its almost self-parodying nature– has been the overbearing eulogizing of Ronald Reagan in the mass media. You’d think this guy was the Second Coming of the Messiah, the way print and TV outlets have been carrying on. I’ve heard so much about Reagan being “The Great Communicator,” and about him being a “decisive” leader. Well, on the one hand, his ability to ‘communicate’ was rather impressive, considering that he was formerly a second-rate Hollywood actor. On the other hand, much of his ‘communication’ was nothing but the usual propaganda and lies. If I feel like it, I’ll get into that later.

As far as Reagan’s ‘decisiveness’ is concerned, I recall an interview with Anthony Hopkins that I heard on NPR a couple of years ago. Sir Hopkins was describing a conversation he had with a journalist who had once interviewed Adolf Hitler. The interview took place in Hitler’s library; after the interview was over, the journalist got the impression that none of the books in the library had ever been opened, because Hitler’s mind was already made up. The moral of this anecdote is that being ‘decisive’ is only a virtue if your decisions are virtuous.

If your Merrkin memory is a bit fuzzy as to the nature of the Reagan administration’s decision-making, then Democracy Now! has a program today that will help you recall just one facet of the Reaganites’ foreign policy.

While you’re reading/watching/listening, keep this in the back of your mind: one of the reasons that Reagan’s ‘legacy’ has been so heavily whitewashed and propagandized is that his ideological heirs have been setting the terms for political discourse in the U.S. for over two decades. These people now control every branch of the federal government.

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