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If It Wasn't For Reagan

You wouldn't have this column

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The seemingly endless state funeral for former President and conservative demigod Ronald Reagan is finally over. The protracted week included every bit of ceremonial pomp and pompous iconography imaginable, short of George W. Bush saluting the passing funeral procession while wearing John-John short pants, or Karl Rove blowing a trumpet on the Third Day while sitting on the rolled-away stone heralding Reagan's empty tomb. Veneration, canonization, what's the difference?

Honoring the passing of a former President is fitting and proper. I loathed Reagan's policies, but he was a leader who was strong-willed without being arrogant, promoted optimism over fear, commanded respect without a sense of self-entitlement, was able to smile without smirking, and was humorous rather than ill-tempered, all completely contrary to the current resident of the Oval Office. But . . . let's be real.

Neoconservatives -- who, by the way, dissed Reagan's second term foreign policy moderation -- now want to name everything in the world after the man, from airports to union halls, and put his image on 10-dollar bills and Mt. Rushmore. I'm waiting for legislation authorizing a tax break for every first born male named either Ronald or Gipper. Please. My feeling is, if you want to pay homage, name something appropriate after him. And that's why I've decided to rename this column the Ronald Reagan Memorial Brave New War.

After all, it was Reagan who promoted Islamic fundamentalism as a weapon against the Soviets in Afghanistan, who helped prop up Saddam Hussein in an alliance of convenience against Iran, and who illegally sold weapons in the Middle East to help finance a savage secret war in Central America. In other words, Reagan laid the political and moral groundwork for the Brave New War we now find ourselves in.

You may have noticed the honor guard struggling with the weight of Reagan's flag-draped casket. My guess is this wasn't because of its mahogany construction, but rather from the disposal of the final bit of hidden Iran-Contra evidence smuggled out by Ollie North, some of which was no doubt still stuck to Fawn Hall's panties. Rest in peace accomplished!

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