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Thursday, June 10, 2004

Ronald Reagan


I haven't written about the passing of Pres. Reagan because Leah Guildenstern took the words right outta my mouth:
You see, I was raised in a liberal family and grew up with liberal beliefs. . . . My memory of Ronald Reagan was . . . . a liberal point of view of how Ronald Reagan was committing illegal wars in other countries, the government was running drugs, he was just some actor being run by his wife, and he represented what was wrong with America. . . . It was only when I started exploring the blogosphere and reading others impressions of him that I realized that my view was one skewed by a media point of view. I find it amazing how much has changed merely by a change of perspective.
I post about him now only because I've seen and heard the Liberal Media segue from Bush-bashing into Reagan-bashing with barely a pause in between. My husband and I have a new game to play in the car -- before we turn on the radio (NPR), we try to guess if they will be bashing Bush, or Reagan, or covering Abu Grahib. We both lost this afternoon; Andre Codrescu was bashing Florida.

Earlier in the day, I heard NPR eulogizing Ray Charles, as well they should. I could only wonder, though, what people would think if they had bashed him instead, talked about how he wasn't so great after all, that he had made mistakes, that some of his music wasn't really so good in retrospect. Listeners would've been appalled, but no one need worry; the Left would never do such a thing to a black musician. A Republican president, however, is fair game. It will not be long before they whine that Ray Charles, a legitimate legend, is being ignored in favor of Reagan, an illegitimate one.

Many liberal commentators even insist it is their (ethical? historical? journalistic?) obligation to explore "all sides" of Reagan's legacy (see for example the NPR ombudsman column). They are so transparent in their bias, especially to those of us who used to inhabit the same constricted mindset (pardon me, worldview). I have been a recovering anthropologist for many years, but it's only recently that I have begun to recover from being a lifelong liberal.

At first, I insisted that the Left had abandoned me; then I wondered if I hadn't been the one to change, to grow old and away from the idealism of youth. Probably both are true; I'm just grateful that my husband and I were able to navigate a joint transmogrification ("the act of changing into a different shape or form, especially one that is fantastic or bizarre").

Banagor is back again and has an interesting take on Reagan and how his death accentuates the Great Cultural Divide:
Many "moderates" here in the Liberal press argue that Ronald Reagan didn't really end [the Cold War]. They say that the signs were all there anyway and Reagan was just there in the right place at the right time.

Perhaps so. But the fact remains that to many, he was not only the symbol of freedom which ended the Evil Empire, but also the catalyst. Without him, perhaps we never would have won.

Intellectuals argue all the time about all sorts of great people in history, whether they deserve credit for what they did accomplish. This usually comes from people who have accomplished nothing themselves and whose only goal is to point out the flaws in others. By their standards, Jesus was only there at the right place and the right time, since all the signs were there for a Jewish reform of sorts, from the Essenes to the Zealots. That is, of course, balderdash. They are the same people who would probably decry Einstein as not being a genius because physicists had already been working on pre-relativistic theory for some time before he showed up with his own simple and beautiful formula. They might even argue that England would have fought Nazi Germany anyway, regardless of Churchill's valiant speeches, simply because there were some in Britain who were defiant against the Nazi threat to begin with.

They are the same people who wish to give credit to nobody but the collective as embodied by the United Nations because, as we all know, they are all for the State and not the Individual.

That is why they cannot tolerate Reagan being made into the hero that he is. In their eyes, nobody is ever a hero. Only the State can be a hero. Nobody can ever be above and beyond the common man because that would show that some are better than others; some ideas worth more than others; some people with better morals than others; some visions worth fighting for and others best left ignored. To them, Reagan represented that very ideal - the very thing which they loathe so much - individuality.

As always, when it comes to Banagor, read it all, and please, try not to think less of him just because he is so shockingly young ("I am proud that I grew up with [Reagan] as my President.") Yikes.

If you aren't completely tired of the subject, then read Krauthammer: "Reagan was more than just an optimist."