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Shed No Tears for Reagan

Shed No Tears for Reagan

A media that addressed Ronald Reagan "on bended knee" is again reinventing the late President as a jovial fellow who was widely loved by Americans. CBS National Affairs Correspondent Mark Noler said that it was clear that Reagan held a special place in the hearts of Americans since he committed the "rare feat in modern times of winning two terms as President."

A rare feat? Bill Clinton was re-elected and there is no way his death would lead the national media to claim he was widely loved. Richard Nixon also won twice, and nobody portrayed his 49 state victory in 1972 as a sign of popular affection. The day to day lies about Reagan have re-emerged, which is why we feel obligated to set a few things straight.

Ronald Reagan won election over incumbent Jimmy Carter in a race that was closer than it looked and that was ultimately swung by low voter turnout among the Democratic base. While he won re-election in a landslide, his popularity ratings throughout his presidency fell below those of Bill Clinton.

The media love celebrity politicians, and Reagan got the sort of media reverence now on display with Arnold Schwarzenegger. This adoration of the B-movie actor-turned Governor-turned President enabled him to engage in conduct---the illegal sending of weapons to the Nicaraguan contras-that should have brought his impeachment.

Reagan's legacy was the massive redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle-class to the rich, which he accomplished through massive tax cuts for the wealthy.

Reagan all but killed off federal housing funding, paving the way for homelessness to remain a persistent problem in America two decades later

Reagan refused to mention the word "AIDS," and his delayed response to the epidemic caused tens of thousands of avoidable deaths.

Reagan sent American weapons to thugs seeking to over the democratically-elected Sandinista Government in Nicaragua, despite a congressional ban of such weapon transfers. He was directly responsible for the murder of thousands of Nicaraguans, and that nation's continued poverty is a legacy of the Reagan.- backed wars.
Reagan sent weapons to prop up El Salvador's phony "democratic" government, and indirectly supported the death squads that preyed on human rights activists and workers seeking to impose real democracy in that land.

Reagan pushed for the destruction of federally-funded legal services, arts and humanities, and volunteer programs such as the then activist-oriented VISTA program. What programs Reagan could not kill, he weakened.

Reagan's environmental record may actually have been worse than George W. Bush's---impossible as that seems.

Reagan threw billions down the tubes in a failed attempt to create a Star Wars Missile Defense System.

Reagan's 1981 tax cut plan was the major force for gentrification and displacement in urban America during the 1980's, as it provided unprecedented tax incentives for real estate speculation. In a not unrelated impact of the measure, savings and loan's faced collapse around America, resulting in a multibillion dollar taxpayer bailout of the S& L industry.

The list of Reagan wrongs could go on and on.
This is a man who held a press conference eating grapes during the UFW grape boycott-Reagan called the farmworkers "outside agitators."

This is a man who held his campaign kickoff for the Presidency in 1980 in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the site where three civil rights workers were murdered in the 1960's. Reagan chose the site not to highlight the abuses of racism, but to send a message that he would do his best to bring the return of the old ways to the South.

Ronald Reagan was responsible for more evil and destruction than any American of his generation. May he rest in peace.

PAUL HOGARTH
phogarth (at) mac.com
 


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