|Sadly, I only got to vote |
against the Gipper
in 1984. I was too young
An even greater irony was the outpouring of grief and faux-grief from the nation as a whole and particularly from the city that Reagan had worked so much against. This Reagasm -- as one of my colleagues called it -- has continued, with lionizing projects that have included trying to name something for President Reagan in every state and the deeply insulting move of naming Washington National Airport .for him. He vilified government employees in general and air-traffic controllers in particular. The ironies continue, as supporters succeeded -- hours before the centennial -- in raising $100,000,000 for a library to honor one of our most deeply anti-intellectual presidents. The library and the fund raising are, naturally centered in Simi Valley, where Rodney King's attackers found a sympathetic jury back in 1992.
I have written elsewhere on this blog that Reagan's legacy continues in the derision of public servants and the empowerment of corporate "persons." His most disturbing legacy -- and that for which this article is named -- was his approach to Central America, which I mentioned in an article about the sanctuary movement. There his single-minded passion for defeating Soviet Communism combined with his racism and his lack of interest in learning the facts on the ground, leading him to deepen U.S. commitments to the very worst regimes.
For some, all of this is fine, since he talked tough and lowered taxes. Two problems with that: the tough talk did not make us safer, and he actually raised taxes, both in California and the U.S. He just kept saying he was against them.
Not everyone sees Reagan as I do, of course. See Ken Rudin's assessment, which is the source of the buttons above.