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OpinionPolitics

In Response to ‘Teflon-draped Coffin’

Originally published on “The Raw Story” (www.rawstory.com)

In “Eulogy to a Teflon-draped coffin,” which was recently posted on The Raw Story, columnist Brian Dowell felt in necessary to write his own “eulogy” for Ronald Reagan, which in this writer’s opinion is essentially the written equivalent of spitting on a dead man’s face. Quoting Voltaire right off the bat tells me that you composed your article on a self-constructed pedestal, attempting to exude your faux elitism, and convey to the readers that you clearly view them inferior to yourself. The only “horseshit” is what comes from your misguided, feeble idea of what America is.

Firstly, Dowell should spare us the critique on the architectural attributes of the Reagan Presidential library, as I’m sure the people paying respects to him aren’t thinking about whether or not they approve of the landscape or the paint job. I’m pretty confident that people are flocking there regardless of the difficulty of parking. Whether or not a president performed to your standards, they are entitled, almost obligated, to leave a record of their legacy, from their point of you, on their terms, for whoever wishes to educate themselves from it. If you consider presidential libraries a “self-serving, masturbatory, historical white-wash,” then your credentials as a citizen of the United States, aside from your physical birth, are highly suspect. Why stop at presidential libraries? Why don’t you admonish any institution of historical study, including the countless monuments to the conflicts and struggles that awarded us and other countries their freedom? I would hate to live in a world that Dowell had anything to do with creating.

Ronald Reagan was president during a time when I was busy tripping over myself and adjusting to the trials of adolescence. I had just entered High School when he left office. That is not to say that in the years since up to now, I have learned of Reagan, his life, his presidency, and how people are sharply divided as to what kind of impact he had on our country. With hindsight being 20/20, I don’t think Reagan was a great president. He was a likeable man, a strong man, a man with unflappable convictions, but he was a president that was seriously out of touch with the times he governed. He unnecessarily and recklessly ignored the AIDS epidemic for years after he had been begged to launch education and prevention programs. He increased the poverty level and cut taxes for the wealthy. The homeless rate skyrocketed under his rule. He even lobbied to have ketchup classified as a vegetable in order to cut corners on school lunch programs, which aside from it’s implications had it been implemented, seems now like an almost humorous aspect of Regan’s tenure, and he’d probably admit to follies such as “ketchup-gate” if he was still alive and in possession of his faculties.

Ronald Reagan did however do something that led most people to give him get out of jail free card on most of the aforementioned items. He more or less single handedly led a crusade to end the cold war, and effectively killed communism in the former Soviet Union dead in its tracks, and made an ally of Russia, and a personal friend in Mikael Gorbachev.

Reagan also had the misfortune to live the last ten years of his life in the dark, wiped of every pleasant memory of loved ones, rendering him a shell. It is a fate not even he himself would have wished on his most staunch adversaries. Still, Ronald Reagan was not a good overall commander and chief, but he was a president, and thus deserves every honor and consideration due to a person of his stature.

This week’s media orgy surrounding his death and memorial services has been nothing short of jaw dropping. There are some that may believe, in the case of Reagan’s countless video tributes, the notion that there is such a thing as being too prepared for something. On the other hand, there hasn’t been a full-blown state funeral since Lyndon Johnson, and Washington and the United Stated have always reveled in the spectacle of honoring servants of the country. It may seem even more appropriate, considering that these days, American’s attention spans are at a staggering low level, and Ronald Reagan is sure to be a distant memory in another week.

That all being said, whether you are an ultra conservative elephant or a mostly liberal leaning donkey like myself, any stored venom or any other gripes with a former, now deceased president, should not be raised at a time when thousands of people are making pilgrimages to pay respects to him. It’s a given to say that there are people from those pilgrimages who feel the same as I do about Reagan as a president. But like honorable, decent Americans, they have the intelligence and foresight to understand that this country was founded, and has been governed by individuals that are inevitably doomed to make decisions that history will view as ill advised, brilliant, destructive, world-changing, and countless other adjectives. Part of the brilliance of our country is learning from our mistakes, and there are other countries that would do well to follow our lead.

When Brian Dowell accuses Reagan of ushering in the age of terrorism, one can’t help but wonder what he defines as terrorism. Reagan did things that garnered negative reactions, but helping to end the cold war was not one of them. For the sake of informing Mr. Dowell, which at his point is probably hopeless, terrorists ushered in terrorism, which is why we call it TERRORISM. Individuals that have no allegiance to anyone but himself or herself, with the belief that their actions are serving an approving God, conceived terrorism. They subscribe to madness. If Dowell chooses to call Reagan a terrorist, then I suggest he relocate to the Iraq. And if he happens to make it through the first day, maybe he will realize how good he has it in the United States, including the right to compose the utter trash that he trumps as “journalistic honesty.”

Dowell’s article prompted several comments that were posted on The Raw Story website, with most of them commenting Dowell’s narrow-mindedness and lack of respect. He conveniently after the fact announced his piece as satire. The only one buying that heap is Dowell.

Instead of journalistic honesty, Dowell should keep his focus on integrity for a while.

By: Seamus Condron

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