Wednesday, February 09, 2011
The Other Legacy of Ronald Reagan
Holy shit Tarzan. If I see another fawning tribute to Ronald Reagan I think I'll vomit. Or scream like his monkey.
Because his legacy still lives in Stephen Harper's head.
I can't forget the cringing sight of Brian Mulroney singing and swaying for him like some kind of Con Bojangles. On what must surely be the most humiliating day in Canadian history.
But most of all, I can't forgive him for what his death squads did in El Salvador, and Guatemala.
Or for the way that silent holocaust was followed by another.
Or how he moralized or laughed about the AIDS epidemic.
I told one of my students that the most memorable Reagan AIDS moment for me was at the 1986 centenary rededication of the Statue of Liberty. The Reagans were there sitting next to French President Francois Mitterand and his wife, Danielle. Bob Hope was on stage entertaining the all-star audience. In the middle of a series of one-liners Hope quipped, "I just heard that the Statue of Liberty has AIDS but she doesn't know if she got it from the mouth of the Hudson or the Staten Island Fairy."
As the television camera panned the audience, the Mitterands looked appalled. The Reagans were laughing.
Even as so many died.
I wept for Nathan. Nathan, the shy Southern boy with the Star Trek obsession. Nathan, who finally afforded me an understanding of the infield fly rule. Nathan, who had an adorable habit of taking a short jump in the air when something pleased him. I wept for Nathan, whose family refused receipt of his remains.
Yup.They can keep their swaggering American hero. And their morning in America.
I'd rather remember his other legacy. The one so many forget.
Ronald Reagan, Apologist for Apartheid, Champion of the Rich and Big Business, Ignorer of AIDS, and Funder of Death Squads...
The humble people his paid thugs murdered.
And all my forgotten brothers his silence helped KILL...
Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.