2.08.2011

Deification of the Dead 2

“Facts are stupid things.” – President Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, misquoting John Adams’ “Facts are stubborn things.”

During the full week of Ronald Reagan’s funeral on TV and the celebration of his Centennial, my objections have centered not on remembering a former U.S. president, but on the revisionist aspects of The Media Myth and the exploitation of the poor man for political purposes.

We will never forget “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” although communism had already begun to self-destruct, and Reagan did not singlehandedly bring it down as some now believe.

We will never forget a beautiful and frail Nancy Reagan rubbing her hand across the flag-draped coffin, then laying her cheek on it in a final gesture of love.

We must not, then, forget history or alter its facts.

I’ve pulled a couple of interesting items from my old computer files. The first is a brief 1998 article by David Corn of The Nation. When I dared, about three days into TV coverage of Reagan's death, to feature the article, I received the response shared here from a relatively young relative.

THE ARTICLE:

66 (Unflattering) Things About Ronald Reagan

Source Editor's Note: This list of "66 Things to Think about When Flying in to Reagan National Airport" appeared in The Nation on March 2, 1998 after the renaming of Washington National Airport after Ronald Reagan. As David Corn says, "The piece remains relevant today – particularly as a cheat sheet for those who dare to point out the Reagan presidency was not all that glorious and was more nightmare in America than morning in America."

By David Corn
The Nation

The firing of the air traffic controllers, winnable nuclear war, recallable nuclear missiles, trees that cause pollution, Elliott Abrams lying to Congress, ketchup as a vegetable, colluding with Guatemalan thugs, pardons for F.B.I. lawbreakers, voodoo economics, budget deficits, toasts to Ferdinand Marcos, public housing cutbacks, redbaiting the nuclear freeze movement, James Watt.

Getting cozy with Argentine fascist generals, tax credits for segregated schools, disinformation campaigns, "homeless by choice," Manuel Noriega, falling wages, the HUD scandal, air raids on Libya, "constructive engagement" with apartheid South Africa, United States Information Agency blacklists of liberal speakers, attacks on OSHA and workplace safety, the invasion of Grenada, assassination manuals, Nancy's astrologer.

Drug tests, lie detector tests, Fawn Hall, female appointees (8 percent), mining harbors, the Savings and Loan scandal, 239 dead U.S. troops in Beirut, Al Haig "in control," silence on AIDS, food-stamp reductions, Debategate, White House shredding, Jonas Savimbi, tax cuts for the rich, "mistakes were made."

Michael Deaver's conviction for influence peddling, Lyn Nofziger's conviction for influence peddling, Caspar Weinberger's five-count indictment, Ed Meese ("You don't have many suspects who are innocent of a crime"), Donald Regan (women don't "understand throw-weights"), education cuts, massacres in El Salvador.

"The bombing begins in five minutes," $640 Pentagon toilet seats, African-American judicial appointees (1.9 percent), Reader's Digest, C.I.A.-sponsored car-bombing in Lebanon (more than 80 civilians killed), 200 officials accused of wrongdoing, William Casey, Iran/contra. "Facts are stupid things," three-by-five cards, the MX missile, Bitburg, S.D.I., Robert Bork, naps, Teflon.

David Corn, Washington editor of The Nation, is author of The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception.

SOURCE: Information Clearinghouse

THE RESPONSE:

BJ - ENOUGH.

The man is dead. Whether you liked him or not is irrelevant. Whether ANYONE liked him is irrelevant.

Whatever harm or good he did for the country is sixteen years gone, and is also irrelevant, in the grand scheme of things. Not mentioning the "bad" things for one week out of the YEARS and YEARS of history is NOT going to do irreparable harm to the kids who don't pay attention in history class in the first place. Two hundred years from now, which will they mention in the history books? The Iran-contra affair or one state funeral of who knows how many?

Let the dead rest. Give the man his week of respect by keeping your mouth shut, if nothing else. And don't whine at me about censorship. It's called manners, which I thought we HAD in the South.

Don't discuss sex, religion or politics at the dinner table, and if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

***

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Sadly, this seems to be the media’s new approach to U.S. history. I refuse to condone it.

7 comments:

tnlib said...

And now we have to listen to Rumsfeld ressurect himself - and he ain't even dead.

Jerry Critter said...

This is a great quote, and I think it sums up Reagan's philosophy. It comes from a speech he made after it was determined that he traded weapons to Iran for hostages.

A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not.

Here is the full speech.

He admits lying to the American people. He is a liar! He admits it. He dismisses the evidence. He says the facts and evidence is true. But he dismisses the fact and evidence, the TRUE facts and evidence and instead believes his heart.

Ronald Reagan, an admitted liar to the American people...and the hero of the republicans. It once again shows that republicans don't care about truth and facts.

Tiny said...

Ditto on the facts and evidence. Tiny remembers numerous times when Reagan was asked about arms for hostages, the Iran/contra events and Reagan would look directly in the camera, laugh and say, "The American people do not want to break the law." However, he failed to continue with the fact that he had no miscompunctions of doing so himself.

Tiny admits he had an engaging personality, but his policies were deadly to the masses of the people, their jobs, education, and necessities of daily life. Not to rehash the list BJ has posted of his "breaking of the law" in other countries.

As for letting him rest in peace, Tiny doesn't think we have any control over that. She thinks how he lived his life and treated his fellow human beings dictates that aspect of the physically dead.

tnlib said...

btw, I didn't mean to make light of your excellent post. I'd just come from debating a truly good friend in real life re Rumsfeld - his book and interview on ABC. The parallels between the two rather nice looking self-delusional men, their deceptions, lies and disregard for human life was the first thing I thought about when I read Corn's article.

Reagan's admission that he lied was disingenuous at best, but that's more than Rumsfeld has done. Everything was everyone else's fault.

Anyway, I certainly appreciated Corn's article and have bookmarked it for possible use in the future. Over time I have forgotten some of those "unflattering" facts and I think it's important to be reminded of them.

I've always said I thought the Teflon Man was the consumate actor, albeit a very bad one, and that he was showing signs of senility early on in his 2nd term. Interestingly, I don't remember all this over-blown adulation when he actually died. Of course there was plenty but nothing, nothing compared to the hype we're hearing today.

The comment that Ron Jr. made that he and his dad never had a "real" conversation says much about the former president. And so does his marriage to that beautiful but empty headed woman whose only real contribution to society was to come out in support of stem-cell research. Otherwise, she's so plastic that if someone goosed her, she'd crack.

I hope that in a little over a decade your "relatively young relative" has taken his/her head out of the sand and learned some manners.

B.J. said...

I appreciate the comments, and thanks Leslie for coming back and adding so much to the discussion!

I know some think I am cold-hearted (I’m not), but I don’t factor in Reagan’s end days any more than I would factor them in if something similar happened to Dubya, Cheney or Rummy. I believe they all must be held accountable for their records.

Mo Dowd has a good column about Rummy’s new book in the NYT: “Blame, Not Shame.” I think it took balls for Rummy to title his book after my all-time favorite Republican quote – the one he gave to U.S. troops in Iraq about the “known knowns,” the “known unknowns” and the “unknown knowns.” HUH??? LMAO!!! Old neocons never die: they just lie in books.

Ron’s comments about his dad might account for his getting mad when people call him “Ron, Jr.” He is adamant that he is not “Jr.” but is named Ronald Prescott Reagan.

Thanks again for the comments, guys!

BJ

tnlib said...

Didn't know that about Son of Ron. Will remember it in future. Actually, I like Son very much.

Octopus said...

"Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first" - Ronald Reagan.

How ironic ... all things considered.