Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mythology 101

I contend that this country is ruled by people who want our brains turned to mush. I've always thought this is helped along by the fact that our dominant religion tells children as part of its creation myth that God wants us ignorant and kicked us out of the Garden of Eden because a woman let a talking snake seduce her into eating a magic apple which made her and her man friend intelligent. I have friends who believe this to literally be the case. Once you can accept the contradictions implicit in that tall tale, then you can move on to lesser fabrications such as the mythology of Ronald Reagan. if ever a person did not deserve to have an airport named for him it was Ronnie.

The greatness of America peaked at the moment before Ronald Reagan became our president. We had strong unions and a robust manufacturing sector, a semi-fair taxation system that gave our government enough money to build schools and universities that were the envy of the rest of the world. We had a strong and growing middle class, though the hard core poor were still the hard core poor. As a percentage of our population the poor were stable and not growing as they are today. We did have serious problems with our financial sector and the start of income inequality but income disparity was still merely a symptom rather than a goal. In today's dollars the average worker made over $20 an hour and it was a good living. A greater percentage of our young people would attend college every year than did the year before. The future was bright. Ronald Reagan would change all that.

When Reagan took office in 1981 he fulfilled his campaign promise of massive tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Unemployment soared, the economy tanked, and the national debt spiraled out of control to a nearly three times all the debt amassed in the previous 80 years of the 20th century combined. But as the incomes of average Americans stopped growing, the incomes of the richest among us began to soar. Best of all, the monetary policies that were stifling the rest of the economy, stabilized inflation so that those who had wheelbarrows of money stashed in banks could keep it there without it losing value instead of having to invest it in the economy. Workers would never again make as much money as they did before Reagan and his handlers came into power.

Today, as a result of the continuation of Reagan conservatism, the average worker makes $19 an hour, those that are working. The financial sector is now the home of our largest organized crime families and has taken something like three trillion dollars out of the American pocketbook in just the last 8 years without producing anything except a national debt that is three, no , FOUR times as massive as that created under Reagan. Most of this occurred during Baby Bush's reign as figurehead interupted only by the only Democratic presidential term since Reagans, that of Bill Clinton.

Reagan was a functional racist. He vetoed an anti-apartheid resolution directed at South Africa. his veto was overridden by the Republican controlled Senate in what may have been the last moral act of Republicans in this country. As Republican strategists learned under Reagan, functional racism is necessary for Republicans to gain and hold power in the USA. Low income whites must be led to vote against their own interests in order for Republicans to stay in power. Fear is the key to doing that. Fear of illegal immigrants who will take your job and rape your daughter,even as Republicans filibuster measures to standardize driver's licenses and id cards in America so that employers can instantly identify illegal workers and deny them the job candy that is luring them across the border in the first place. Fear of blacks, muslims, liberals, socialists, marxists, and everybody except conservatives..

Now, as a result of this avalanche set in motion under Reagan, there is a race to the far far right end of the teeter totter as "real" conservatives try to portray moderate conservatives as being way too sane to hold office in America. If you aren't a tea Party whacko who believes Republicans are making America strong by smashing American troops into the quagmire of the Middle East and sending our factory jobs to Asia, 40,000 closed factories in the US since 2001, then you aren't really a conservative. If you believe that Obama isn't a socialist, was born in the USA, or somehow got to be president of the Harvard Law Review because of quotas, then you aren't crazy enough to serve the conservative movement. Sanity is an automatic disqualifier in today's Republican Party, and Ronald Reagan, who by objective observation was either asleep at the wheel or in the throes of Alzheimer'sj disease during a significant of his Presidency...Ronald Reagan could not be elected today. Why? In a few, very damned few, instances he did what was morally right.

He raised taxes a number of times in hopes of stopping the growing deficit.

Reagan created the Department of Veteran's Affairs.

He dreamed of a nuclear free world

Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants.

And though he perpetuated homophobia, he reversed his position on Aids awareness when confronted by an innocent child dying of the disease.

These things do not fit the conservative mythology of "Saint" ronald Reagan, however, and you will hear little about them today as conservatives wallow in the hog slop of what Reagan started...the destruction of an America where "We the People" has any meaning beyond "We, the Ultra Rich and our friends, the Corporations."

In the most dramatic strike of irony's hand, conservatives will praise Reagan for defeating America's arch enemy, the Soviet Union. In fact, the Soviet Union could not have done more to destroy America than conservatives have since Reagan proved that a figurehead could adequately serve as president with good speech writers and the ability to believe his own lies. Reagan helped create the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden but that will not be celebrated today. In fact, I wonder how many people will realize that Bin Laden struck, not at the American people per se, but at the institutions brought into outsized power by Ronald Reagan, the American Financial Sector in the World Trade Towers and the Defense Department in the Pentagon. Ronald Reagan did not defeat America's enemies...he built them...with our money.

In fact, when you really look at things objectively with the well being of most of Americans in mind, Ronald Reagan and his conservative mythology have turned out to BE America's enemy.

Happy 100th Ronald Reagan's birthday, America!


Further reading...

10 Things Conservatives Don’t Want You To Know About Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan, Enabler of Atrocities


  1. here's an email message from ccrow I think deserves sharing...

    As the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth is observed, the worshipers of all things Gipper dismiss any reference to the dark side of the Reagan presidency. Grover Norquist, the ultimate hyper-conservative, calls Regan’s detractors bitter, and Peggy Noonan, confectioner of saccharine Reagan mythology, spins a gauzy haze over his memory. It is not unexpected that St. Ronnie’s admirers prefer to gloss over history in an effort to seal the memory of this man against the actual truth of his legacy. In fact, he was very appealing and his boyish charm, much like that of Bill Clinton, got him out of many an awkward situation. However, the same Ronald Reagan who attacked human rights advocate Jimmy Carter as a weak defender of America is the same one who blew past clear evidence of unspeakable atrocities that happened on his own watch. Most people recall Reagan as a political force and forget that his first term was heading into the political ditch and he was less popular than Carter was at the same point in his presidency--until the failed attempt to assassinate him rallied American pride. This event created a bubble that shielded Reagan’s shortcomings as president from view, long enough to allow his spinners to recreate his image from the vacuous, shallow story teller into the inevitable winner that he became. The essay below will not be well received by those who believe that Reagan was truly a great president. However, history often has a way of offering rude and startling reminders that presidents do not always live up to the ideal standards which Americans want them to meet. Does he belong on Mt. Rushmore? Hardly. But he sure had a great smile. ctc

  2. It's Bob Marley's birthday too!!

  3. Snakes don't talk and apples grow from apple trees. But what fruit grows from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Do a search: The First Scandal.

  4. Robert, You seem to have your own way out there interpretation of Genesis, slanted to make anything except missionary position sex the real reason we got kicked out of Eden. If you don't take the bible literally, then you can't use any of it to make a case for anything. Think about it.

    Now how about going back to the real point of this post instead of wallowing in your little personal sex hangup?

    The right has created a mythological Reagan to justify their current beliefs. It's just one more false religion, brother. Face it.