Monday, June 07, 2004

Reagan's Legacy

The newspapers and airwaves are filled with glowing tributes to President Ronald Reagan, who died this weekend at 93. Here in LA, just a hop, skip and a jump north of Orange County where the conservative movement that brought him to power was born, it is probably even worse.

His presidency occurred between ages 6 and 14 for me, so it was before I really had an analysis of my own. However, I do remember having a strange fascination with the Iran/Contra hearings, and spending a not insignificant amount of time watching them, even though I didn't really understand them. I remember Oliver North looking self-righteous. I remember John Poindexter chewing on his pipe and looking secretive, incessantly invoking the Fifth Amendment.

A prof at the university I attended, who is Latin American himself and has been heavily involved in solidarity work with liberation movements in Central and Latin America for decades, once described the Sandanista Revolution in Nicaragua as "a beautiful revolution," with real pain in his voice. It's not a country or a movement or a people that I have any personal connection to, but I am always hit emotionally by the story of their marvellous successes and the relentless efforts of the Reagan administration to kill civilians and target civilian infrastructure (later condemned by the World Court) in order to bring them down. And don't forget that many of the crooks and war criminals currently wielding power in Washington got their start under Reagan.

Here is an article on his true legacy, not the adulatory falsehoods currenlty being spewed in the media. As it says, "Ronald Reagan was responsible for more evil and destruction than any American of his generation. May he rest in peace."

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