Wednesday, April 16, 2008

On Reagan

I came across the following essay I wrote several years ago, when I was known as Honorable Mouse. I thought I would resurrect and share:

On Ronald Reagan

After thinking I would say nothing, other than the usual platitudes—that Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease and I wouldn’t wish it on my bitterest enemy and how I understand, to some degree, what the Reagan family is going through—worthy of a leftist who hated living under the Reagan administration, I have read with interest the condemnations and commendations, the hagiography and historiography, the hero worship and the anti-hero desecration which has accompanied the death of Ronald Reagan. I have reached a few conclusions.

Ronald Reagan is God. A hungry god, a benevolent god, a god who will not be appeased until every building, every highway, every park, every coliseum, airport, petting zoo, municipal water authority, auditorium, dog, cat, and every person, every single human being, is called Ronald Reagan. His name must be everywhere.

And it must be everywhere because Ronald Reagan was the greatest President in the history of the world—its all down-hill from here, America! His face should be engraved on Mount Rushmore, indeed all of the faces on Mount Rushmore should be his—let there be five Ronald Reagans on Mount Rushmore, smiling at us benevolently.

Ronald Reagan single-handedly mud-wrestled Communism to death. He rode Gorbachev through Geneva like a cowboy on a mule—angry that the beast couldn’t go faster. He is single-handedly responsible for saving Central America from Communism—he ordered the killings of Communist nuns in order to save Central American school children from the harsh rod of Communist atheism. Central Americans, and we don’t know who the hell they are, rejoice whenever they hear Ronald Reagan’s name. They rejoice even more now that he is dead.

Ronald Reagan won World War II. He went down with his bomber over France, died, and was resurrected. He rescued Jews from the death camps. He told a young, impressionable Yitzhak Shamir, pointing towards the death camp guards, “Be like them.” It explains a lot.

Ronald Reagan was a chimpanzee’s best friend. Off camera, he would groom the chimpanzee and the chimpanzee him. Bonzo was always Reagan’s best hair stylist.

Ronald Reagan made a deal with the Iranians, as part of his clever plan to be friends in secret and enemies in public, to not release the Embassy Hostages until after he had taken the oath of office. Ronald Reagan agreed to sell arms to the Iranians in order to secure the release of American hostages in Lebanon, all the while saying, “We do not negotiate with terrorists”. Ronald Reagan thought Iran was, next to America, a better bulwark against Communism than Iraq. Ronald Reagan thought Armageddon should be between two peoples who believe in God, not between believers and non-believers. Non-believers made him feel funny, like perhaps there was more to life than simple platitudes and blind conservatism. He didn’t like them.

In a previous life, Ronald Reagan had been an aborted child. In this life, Ronald Reagan achieved enlightenment: he would oppose abortion and it would strengthen his political base. Ronald Reagan thought fetuses should have guns.

Ronald Reagan was all this and more—he would go out in cognito in his other identity as Don Regan to find out how his policies affected the working man. He was happy when they were poorer and more miserable—“At least you are not homeless,” he would say, “homeless people make me really mad.”

Ronald Reagan could never understand why people would be mad at him. The students at Berkeley when he was Governor, the AIDS activists, and anti-nuke protestors. Didn’t they understand, Reagan thought to himself, I’m not doing this for them, I’m doing this for my vision of America.

And what a vision it was: the shining city on the hill. A city of light and grace and beauty. Surrounded by squalor, and filth, and poverty. Unspeakable squalor. Forgotten squalor. Unimportant squalor.

That, Ronald Reagans everywhere, was Ronald Reagan.