Over the last eight years I’ve been increasingly annoyed by the way Ronald Reagan has been lionized. Airports, aircraft carriers, schools named after the man, and he wasn’t a particularly good or adequate president.
Listen. The man ignored AIDS. He had an arms-for-hostages deal going with Iran. (Yes, that Iran.) And his administration, like Bush 41’s after it, was in bed with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. It was on Reagan’s watch that Osama Bin Laden was supported by the CIA to resist Russian (at the time Soviet) invasion forces — only at the time OBL was a freedom fighter. And he was not, despite what we might have heard to the contrary, responsible for the end of the Cold War.
Relevance? Mansfield Frazier sums it up pretty well in the Daily Beast. He’s got a nice little sound bite here:
[I]f we don’t get a grip early on, and nip this madness in the bud, we’ll soon be seeing our kids walking to school in the morning, eating a bag of Obama Potato Chips, washing them down with a can of Barack Red Pop, while carrying—what else?—Sasha and Malia dolls.
I voted for BHO, along with about 53% of my fellow Americans — but it would behoove us to remember that it was only 53%. Reagan won in 1980 with 51% of the popular vote. Look how well that worked out for us. While I’m as pleased as most to see the Bush-Cheney era at last draw to a close, I don’t think unseemly demonstrations are particularly advisable or desirable.
Undeniably the election of a black president to the US is a big deal. But before we begin the full-on worship, maybe we should see if it’s really all that great an idea. Maybe we should respect Obama for his policies. And until we see what his policies are going to be, maybe we should just hold off entirely on renaming streets and schools.
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