“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.
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 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
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.