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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Monday, June 07, 2004  

Reagan remixed

This past week I've been travelling -- DC, South Carolina for a wedding, and back to New Jersey. I was driving for a chunk of that time, and in my usual habit, I scanned the radio stations often to get a mix of jazz, hiphop, talk radio, and conservative and liberal radio stations alike. Also, while in South Carolina, I watched some TV in the hotel room that I stayed in. Why all this info? Because i've been INUNDATED with references to Reagan's wonderful presidency and remembrances during this past week, and it's not done yet, and the worst is -- not much of it is TRUE. As a people, we really like to idolize dead leaders, and I'm used to that, but I'm not enjoying the misinformation about a past president whose policies had more long term negative effects on our country than positives.

Reagan has often been referred to as the most popular president in our history. Check out the graphs on daily kos's site for a definite rebuking of this oft-claimed "fact". Furthermore, on the radio call-ins and talk shows on TV, people are for the most part SLAMMING ANYbody who says anything negative about Reagan, and adding all kinds of moral and emotional appeals to their statements ("it's not right to slam a dead president", or "in a time of war, these liberals are always saying bad things about our best presidents", or "reagan was the greatest man in america and *sob* bless his heart and *sob* America gained the most under his presidency", etc). It's as if censorship is the way to go when we're talking about supposed american 'heroes'.

For some left-wing truth about Reagan, check out a piece of commentary by Mark Weisbrot. Back in 1998, David Corn wrote an interesting short piece called "66 things to think about when flying into reagan national airport". But on a more positive note, the one thing that Reagan definitely did well was to stick to his conservative ideology and seem "at ease" with his ideology. Liberals could learn from this. As John Nichols from the Nation writes,

Just imagine if Bill Clinton had been as committed to advancing an activist liberal ideology as Reagan was to his conservative agenda. America might have a national health care plan today. Labor law reform could have been a reality, rather than an empty promise. The United States would certainly have a more progressive judiciary. And here's another notion: If Clinton or Al Gore had put as much energy and enthusiasm into educating Americans about and promoting a liberal agenda as Reagan did for his conservative ideals, the United States would today have a different Congress and president.

posted by Anjali Taneja | 6/07/2004 05:04:00 PM | |


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