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Something I wrote yesterday

I was 12 when Reagan took office and 20 when he left it. I came to political consciousness during his administration. I supported him at first and opposed him by the end. The first time I cast a vote for President, I voted for Michael Dukakis. That was in 1988. I was out of the country for the '92 election and had just moved to Washington State for the '96 election and did not register in time to vote, though I was happy to see Clinton beat Dole. In 2000 I voted for Harry Browne.

I don't have a lot to say about Reagan. I see him primarily as an anti-communist crusader. I've read someone on my friends list criticize him for starting the Drug War, but Richard Nixon did that, and before Reagan was elected he made the case that attempts at supply-side reduction in the face of strong demand was a recipe for disaster. It was a Democratically-controlled congress that passed all the mandatory minimum sentences for drug "crimes" during the Reagan years that have turned the US into the world's leading jailer.

Reagan wanted to reduce the size of the federal government, and in that aim he failed. The federal government grew during his administration, as it did under Bush Sr., Clinton, and Bush Jr.. I don't blame him for failing to stop that run-away locomotive. He did try.

I never voted for him, nor did I ever vote for any of his successors. I can't say I liked everything he stood for, and I certainly don't approve of everything he did, but at the same time, I find all this gloating and cheering over his death from folks on my friends list most distasteful, though only one entry so crossed the line that I removed its author from my friends list.

I'm an artist, and in my teens and twenties I moved in artistic circles, which means that I had a lot of gay friends. At the time, I encountered a lot of gay-bashing from conservative Christian organizations embedded in the Republican party. I took their attacks personally, and so I gravitated to the opposite camp. I also spent much time in and around universities, and so a lot left-wing political correctness rubbed off on me.

That was then.

These days, I realize that my enemy's enemy is not necessarily my friend. The further I get from a university setting, the less I fear to cross the lines political correctness demarcates as zones of forbidden thought. While I have not thrown in my lot with the Republicans and/or Neoconservatives, I find the shrill, self-righteous tone of the left-wing complainer far more irritating than that of the right-wing blow hard.

sutut crafted a post with what I consider the right mix of indignation at the reverence accorded to Reagan and compassion.

link: http://www.livejournal.com/users/sutut/17582.html?mode=reply

post-script: written this morning

Hatred is hatred. Every hate-monger knows that the object of his hatred deserves to be hated. Jimmy Swaggart, before his hooker outed him, told his flock that hatred of perversion is the highest human virtue. In my mind, I put Reagan-hating liberals unwilling to forgive in the same catagory as hate-mongers like Swaggart. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you now approve of the behavior that you found so objectionable. It just means that you've let go of the hatred that would otherwise consume you and twist you into a version of what you hate.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 7th, 2004 07:00 am (UTC)
i appreciate this entry, at some point i'd like to sit down and take a close look at all my political sacred cows, to see if they can stand the light of day. i too became politically aware under reagan, and my dislike is more than a bit colored by my father's political opinion, which he gave to anyone who would listen, loud and often.

i will refrain from ranting about reagan.
Jun. 7th, 2004 07:49 am (UTC)
Hee Hee... we're getting old...
While I have not thrown in my lot with the Republicans and/or Neoconservatives, I find the shrill, self-righteous tone of the left-wing complainer far more irritating than that of the right-wing blow hard.

Well, this is why I'm a moderate, or as everyone wants to call me, a fence sitter. I can't stand either side. But as I get older, anarchy looks less attractive and status quo starts looking comfy. It happens to us all. That is why generally the older generation is always somewhat more conservative.

Dancing on someone's grave isn't particularly nice, no matter who they are. As far as human beings go, he wasn't any worse than anyone else. Matter of fact he was sort of an amiable bafflehead, our first real cardboard Prez. Most of what I remember from his admin is sound bytes, sabre rattling and photo ops.

No matter what, though, he had a horrible illness, and his family has lost him. So as another human, I feel compassion. My stepfather wasn't a saint, but I was sad when he crossed over.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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