"RIP Ronald Reagan"
by Kenn Thomas
The best commentary I have read on the death of Ronald
Reagan came from Christopher Hitchens at Slate:
http://slate.msn.com/id/2101842/ I liked it for two
reasons: 1. Hitchens makes a point I like to make to
many people with simple minded political opinions
about "the need of so many American intellectuals to
prove themselves clever by showing that they are
smarter than the latest idiot in power..." and; 2. He
identifies Reagan as "a cruel and stupid lizard." I
don't know if Hitchens consciously invoked David
Icke's imagery of world political leadership as
shape-shifting reptilians, but the reference does
reinforce Icke's over-arching theme that such
leadership is never what it seems.
I would have been more generous about Ronald Reagan. I
think he was funny and charming, only moreso because
he was so disconnected from the actual parapolitical
reality of his administration. One TV news feature
tried to make the point that the true Ronald Reagan
was inaccessible even to his wife Nancy, that he kept
some deep inner core always to himself. This was a
stretch, of course, to fill the 24/7 television
time devoted to Reagan until after his state funeral.
Most viewers know he was a shallow Hollywood guy as
was often parodied. Self-professed shallow, in fact,
in that he trumpeted an administrative style that
supposedly provided broadstroke values while letting
bureaucrats execute the details.
Americans like a good show and Reagan gave them one.
He was affable and articulate and he presented a
picture of the country that it really wanted. But the
October Surprise brought him to office, a deal made
with Ayatollah Khomeini to hold on to the famed 52
American hostages until Jimmy Carter lost the 1980
election. The pay-off for delivering that ransom-an
opportunity to illegally profiteer from the
super-surveillance PROMIS software-went to a man whose
name Reagan conceivably didn't know.
The sleeping-with-the-enemy pattern it established led
to the Iran-Contra deals, the US/CIA build-up of
Saddam Hussein and the pre-al-Qaeda mujahadeen, on up
to the present awful time of reckoning America now
Reagan's motorcade delayed the arrival of the doctor
when my daughter was born. My then wife considers it
the only favor he ever did for her, since she chose to
have the baby using the non-interventionist Bradley
method. Somehow Tim Leary got thrown in jail just
before his gubernatorial campaign in California could
compete with Reagan's. Leary took it as a great
opportunity for a break from public life and a
chance to work on what turned out to be his greatest
Governor Reagan refused to extradite Edgar Eugene
Bradley from California when Jim Garrison sought to
prosecute him for involvement in JFK's murder. It
helped cause Garrison to lose the case against the
other defendant, Clay Shaw, but Garrison went on to be
more-or-less vindicated in the popular culture and
became a great folk hero to many people.
I feel very sad for Nancy Reagan. They were a couple
that lived in a little bubble and I am sure their
relationship was more real than anything they
supposedly believed in or restored to American
culture, like limited government. Americans had to wait for
Dubya to look at spending deficits as big as Reagan's.
And I feel very sad for Americans shedding tears now
for the Gipper, made more poignant by the contrast
between the feel-good image he transmitted and the
hell wrought by the same men who used him as what Bob
Dylan called "a front man for a diseased cause."
The new issue of Steamshovel Press is here. Copies
would be ready to ship Friday if the post offices
weren't closed for Reagan's funeral!
(See order page for details)
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