Ronald Reagan’s presidency capitalized on Hollywood-style symbolism to disguise the impact of its real life policies. The response to his death illustrates how successfully this public relations approach to governance has taken over American politics. All the interviews and the lovely prose attesting to Mr. Reagan’s charm and personality is certainly heartfelt, but judging how a public official has performed requires a more objective and detailed study.
I opposed most of Mr. Reagan’s policies when he was alive and I certainly continue to believe that his presidency was a disaster. But how can I argue against those who say that Mr. Reagan made America proud again? What does that mean? History is important. The American people are owed a higher level of discourse than that found on Entertainment Tonight.
To kick off that debate, please find a list of Reagan policies that I believe were wrong at the time and some of which are still having a negative effect on our country:
1) Military and economic support of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq.
2) Military and economic support of Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan .
3) Selling arms to Iran .
4) Diverting proceeds of Iranian arms sales to fund terrorists in Nicaragua.
5) Turning a blind eye to death squads in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
6) Support for the apartheid regime In South Africa.
7) Busting the air traffic controller union and threatening the safety of air passengers.
8) Reaganomics: record budget deficits, double digit unemployment.
9) The deregulation and collapse of the Savings & Loan industry.
11) Reagan didn’t publicly mention the burgeoning AIDS epidemic for the first 6 years of his 8 years in office.
12) Speech announcing his 1980 candidacy for President given in Philadelphia, Mississippi–where 3 civil rights workers were murdered by racist Klanners in 1964. His speech defended “State’s Rights”–code for Jim Crow segregation.