Monday, February 7, 2011

The Reagan monument

You think the cartoon is harsh? Try the commentary:
Let's not put Ronald Reagan's face on Mount Rushmore or on the ten-dollar bill.

Instead, let's put his face on each $500 hammer in the U.S. military. Let's put his face on each orphan drug that costs $50 a pill. Let's put Reagan's face on the gravestones of each child that died in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. Let's put his face on the Chinese cars built with the steel from the Twin Towers.

Let's terra-form Reagan's face on the deforested hill-sides. Let's tattoo Reagan's smiling face onto each sarcoma on every AIDS victims. Let's put Reagan's face on the door of every homeless shelter. Let's spray-paint his face on to the walls of all the abandoned mental health facilities.

Let's put his face on each gram of crack cocaine.

Let's see his visage appear like Jesus in eBay toast for all of the nuns who were raped and killed by the Contras. Let's anodize his face into the handcuffs that shackled the innocents who were shoved out of planes into the open sea by Guatemalan death squads. Let's tile the walls with beautiful mosaics of Reagan's face in the empty Mayan cities wiped out by the Nicaraguan military. Let's put his face in the town square of what remains of El Mazote as a happy memory to the babies whose brains were dashed out there.

Let's put his face on pre-emptive war. Let's put his face on hundreds of failed savings and loans. Let's put his face on appalling CEO salaries. Let's put his face on the vanishing middle-class.

Let's put his face on Fox News.

My own opinion is that, although Reagan actually looks good compared to the Republicans we've seen since then, it was he who, in many ways, started America down the wrong path.

It was he who showed Republicans, in Dick Cheney's immortal words, that deficits don't matter.

It was he, an actor turned politician, who showed Republicans that reality isn't important in politics. It's perception that matters. (And so, he could bribe our enemies with weapons, while still pretending to be a tough guy.)

It was he who showed the political value in going to war. It didn't matter who you invaded, since even Grenada let a President be "Commander-in-Chief" in American eyes. But it was also he who showed Muslim fanatics that Americans would cut and run if attacked by terrorists.

It was he, with Nancy's astrology in the White House, who started turning Republicans against science. After all, if reality is just whatever you want it to be, then science becomes those unwelcome and annoying people who insist on trying to tell you the truth.

It was he who demonstrated to Republicans that we Americans don't want to sacrifice for long-term goals, don't want to invest in the future, don't want anything difficult, that political popularity is all a matter of satisfying short-term greed and telling us what we want to hear.

Reagan may not have begun all those things, but his immense popularity convinced Republicans - and even many Democrats - to follow his lead. So, how's that been working out for you? Have you enjoyed the past few decades? Are things really looking bright for America these days?

Yes, we've been on the wrong path for years. Too bad we tend to be too dumb to recognize our mistakes, isn't it?

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