Reagan--two views

I was wondering when Sojourners>/a> would say something about the passing of our former president.

Here's the word from Ed Spivey Jr.

Other than the fact that he was one of the worst presidents of the 20th century, I really have nothing bad to say about Ronald Reagan. He was pleasant enough, had a nice smile, and always looked sharp in a suit.

It's the other stuff that bothers me, such as his insensitivity to the poor, women, people of color, the working class, and the unemployed, not to mention the damage he did to the environment, collective bargaining, and the
nation's fiscal health. Am I leaving anything out?

Salon.com coined a new phrase "Reagan Porn" to describe the recent lovefest in the media towards the 40th President.

Here in Chicago, the Chicago Reader had this to say:

That was the wonderful thing about Reagan, and why the old stories went down so easily when he died -- people believed he meant well and forgave the messes he made. Lucky for him, he didn't get the country into a mess so big that meaning well wasn't good enough. Sorry about that, George W. Bush.

On the other side, John Kass, whose column now occupies the Royko spot at the Chicago Tribune, says Reagan taught us to stand tall as Americans

Jimmy Carter, Reagan's predecessor, was "decent" but not strong, says Kass. And in a world where the Soviet Union still had an eye on world domination, decent wasn't good enough.

A few snippets from Kass:

  • The Soviets weren't confused. Carter was a

  • . . .There's one problem. Hand-wringers know many things but don't believe in much. They're moral relativists. There is no right and wrong in them. Only those shades of gray. And shades of gray can't lead human beings.
  • The Soviets figured Carter for a weakling and us for weaklings for electing him, and in a sense we were weaklings then.

  • But then came Reagan. He didn't care about satisfying the establishment by waxing on about shades of gray. He understood that there was good and evil in the world and that we weren't evil.

The result, say Kass, is that we call the 20th Century "American Century." "They don't call it the Soviet Century," he adds.

Maybe Kass is right. Reagan, like GW, was certainly decisive. And he put on a good show of being a leader. But can someone tell me how an president who had "no interest in organized religion" as one of the commentaters at his funeral put it, who never wore the uniform of his country except in a movie, who never fired a gun in anger is seen as a strong, powerful moral Christian leader, while the president (Jimmy Carter) who taught Sunday School for heaven's sake and once served as an officer aboard a nuclear sub is seen as a cowardly, handwringing weakling, who didn't believe in anything.


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