Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ronald Reagan – I take the Good with the Bad

I’m a liberal and I don’t hate Ronald Reagan.  I remembered that as I came across him on FullMovies as host of GE Theater. But before I’m denied entry in every Brooklyn style independent coffee shop in America, let me give an accounting and recount what came to mind next - the less than visionary speech he made in regards to the perils of Medicare.

On the upside, he was positive and coming out of Vietnam, Watergate and the stagnation of the Carter years, America needed that – even if much of his rhetoric distorted reality.

I remember fondly the time he addressed students at Notre Dame the year the football team won the national title.  Eventually presented a football, he turned his attention to where the team was congregated and let the pigskin fly.  Every nearby player reaching out for the president’s perfect spiral, it landed magically in the hands of his intended receiver – Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown.  Always with a flare for the dramatics, he let us feel good about ourselves.

In terms of the cold war, he was the right man at the right time – even as I never approved of the daily verbal hammer he put on the Soviet Union and the massive arms build up that went with it.  In 1960, such an combative approach might amounted to suicide, but in 1980, stepping on their necks was exactly what was needed.

In fact, thinking it was the height of folly to exhort, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” I now view the clip with pride. Reagan was one man with a vision and the right one.

On the other hand, pursuing wars in Central America were a total misread of history, which played no part in the fall of Russia and wrought untold havoc and death on those countries.

At home, “supply side economics” may have resulted in a revived economy but gave rise to policies that created a wealth gap today that would have made the robber barons proud.

That provides the perfect lead in to the Medicare, which is foretelling, but not in the manner Reagan intended.

A typical strategy in which governments impose control, he tells us is under the guise of humanitarian programs like Medicare. Reagan goes on to say that Medicare will open the floodgates and government will expand into all areas of our lives.

For instance, he cites a socialized medicine based scenario in which the government will dictate where doctors work in accordance to the number of doctors in a particular area. In turn, nationally employed physicians will have limits on the number of patients they can treat and a set price since all doctors would be of equal value.  From there, he says, it’s a short step to government telling us what professions we chose, where we go to school and where we live and work.

Off that, he warns one day we will wake up and remember a time when America was free.

50 years later, while our government has expanded to possibly unmanageable proportions, he’s just slightly off.

But his prescience was certainly on target as we see Fox News perfect a propaganda driven business model that works quite well and suckers more in every day with a disinformation machine that has paralyzed our entire system of government.

Oh well, I guess you take the good with the bad.

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