time for love
Reagan: Robin Hood in reverse
do old Beats go to retire? GZO Jones headed for Brazil. We've found
scant documentation that he can even keep a beat, but that has nothing
to do with the fact that Jones always makes deadline and, one way
or another, never shies away from a question. He likes to consider
himself some sort of missing link between the 1950s and the new
century. We like to consider that he works cheap.
Dear Dr. Jones,
Is it my imagination, or does diet soda taste better
than it used to?
I don't drink the stuff. Scotch and frozen water,
however, have maintained the same taste and nutritional value
for more years than I can remember.
Dear Dr. Jones,
I'm guessing you have an opinion on the latest dead
president. Care to share?
I'm so glad you asked. The recent love-fest over Ronald Reagan's
passing seems like misplaced sentiment, rose-colored glasses and
a country starved for a father figure no matter how dysfunctional.
But I think the third-rate actor and his "just say no"
wife paved the road to the biggest problems the world increasingly
suffers from today.
OK, Reagan had a certain flair for clever quips and a seeming
lack of malice. Yet he brought about the Robin Hood reversal that's
still so much in vogue: take from the poor and give to the rich.
That's some legacy.
Furthermore, Reagan ignored AIDS when he might have nipped it
in the bud, denied trading weapons for hostages and called ketchup
a vegetable when pressed to explain budget cuts to school-kid programs.
He was no friend of minorities, social services and the homeless.
He supported Saddam Hussein and practically invented the budget
And let's not forget the response to 241 Marines who were blown
up by terrorists in Beirut on the Gipper's watch: Ronnie pulled
out. I'm guessing that the families of those soldiers weren't all
atwitter in their tributes.
As for communism, it was a house of cards that was primed to
crash and burn. Although here I'll give Reagan his due: he joked
his way into Gorby's heart, which probably accelerated the fall.
And even for detractors, that "tear down this wall" speech
was pretty compelling stuff.
But in my opinion, Ronald Reagan was the first cartoon president
(which makes the incumbent a cartoon's cartoon). And that is not
to say that a cartoon can't be dangerous.
Because in the final analysis, smiling while sticking the knife
in that's the Republican way. How else to see a political
party that thrives by appealing to the rich, the none-too-smart,
the bible thumpers, the old and the scared? What could be more cynical
Nevertheless, Reagan fooled enough of the people enough of the
time to win four convincing landslides (twice the California governorship,
twice the presidency).
But leading millions of people down the wrong road doesn't make
someone a great leader. The coming years, not the past month, will
assign the man his proper place in history.
So I'll leave you with these thoughts: Ronald Reagan might not
have been the original wolf in sheep's clothing, but they could
have given him an Oscar for the role. Which, as the U.S. heads toward
its November vote, brings to mind an old saying that I've used time
and again: people get the government they deserve.
Prove me wrong this time ... please!