In all of America, isn’t there one person brave enough to dump wet cement on Reagan’s Hollywood Boulevard star? Isn’t there one bitter reject with nothing to lose, willing to pour lighter fluid over the “tributes” Reagan’s fans have been laying outside the funeral home?
Every fool in America is deep in mourning for this worthless man, who had no conscience, no intellect and no shame. He had all the faults and none of the virtues of the fascist: malice without frankness; cruelty without courage; pomp without dignity. And if all 285 million of you suckers are willing to sit there and let the jerks lie about him to your face, then you deserve him. He really was your kind of man.
No one but a sucker would stand for the crap they’re saying about Reagan. The claims they’re making for Reagan aren’t just false — they’re comic.
“He was a brave leader.” Reagan was the most cowardly president of the 20th century. His favorite weapons systems were those which could not possibly be used in anger, such as the B1 bomber or Star Wars. These weapons transferred money to military-industrial stockholders without risking actual wartime use, which made them ideal for corporate cowards like Reagan’s staffers.
It took his chickenhawk braintrust months to get up the nerve to invade Grenada, an island so tiny even the Army had a hard time finding maps for it. And when the American military finally triumphed, after some “tough combat” with a couple hundred Cuban construction workers, Reagan’s men pissed themselves with relief. But they still wouldn’t give effective anti-aircraft weapons to the Afghans — not until Democratic congressmen forced Reagan the Peacenik’s trembling hand.
The Iran-Contra scandal revealed just how un-martial and indeed anti-American Reagan’s military policies really were. While refusing to arm the Afghans, who were brave and effective anti-Soviet fighters, Reagan’s circle was obsessed with funneling huge wads of cash to the “Contras,” the Nicaraguan death squads whose military effectiveness consisted only of massacring unarmed villagers, and who never once stood up to Sandinista troops and provided the least semblance of battle. Since he was forbidden by law from slipping money to the Contras without Congressional authorization, Reagan sent fascist stooge Ollie “Nutcase” North to Iran — to sell the Iranian Islamists US weaponry! Iran — the country that hated us most in the world! Sending them US weapons and sending the money to sleazy coke-dealing throat-slitters who were no use in battle at all! How in the name of besieged sentience is that a patriotic act?
“He was a compassionate conservative.” What this means is that he was the only American rightwinger whose evil didn’t show in every photograph–camouflage honed in dozens of films from an era when entertainment was bland and inoffensive. He was the quintessential American success, without memories or even a scrap of affect. His adopted son, Michael, wrote about meeting his dad at the boarding school to which the boy had been sent by his indifferent Hollywood parents. Reagan did a guest appearance at the school, which made Michael feel very proud. He stood in line to see his Dad. As each boy passed and shook his hand, Reagan said exactly the same line: “Hello, Sonny, what’s your name?” Michael’s turn finally came. He looked up at his father, who said, “Hello, Sonny, what’s your name?”
Compassionate? I know better. I grew up under Reagans rule. Many of his best techniques were refined in his terms as governor of California, long before he became president. Before Reagan, insane people were maintained at State expense. Under Reagan, the job was transferred to “community care” — but as everybody knew, there was no such thing. So every crazy in California took the bus to Berkeley.
“He won the Cold War.” On the contrary, he came to power when the Cold War was already over, with the Soviet gerontocracy hanging on to power, trying not to make waves and hoping that their dying system would last their own lifetimes. Reagan and his CIA analysts confronted an opponent they knew to be dying or dead, and spent eight years propping up that moribund opponent in order to keep the suckers scared and the military-industrial complex running strong.
If you read Philip K. Dick’s novels, you know who Reagan was: he was Buster Friendly. Tireless, grinning, never taking himself too seriously — and avidly working to destroy anything worth saving.
Like Buster, Reagan hated Nature — the animals, the forests — most of all. You can explain his hatred as the result of buyout by timber and oil interests, and that’s true to some extent. But other rightwing politicians in the habit of colluding with the energy biz go to some trouble to pretend they value all that environmental shit. Reagan never did. In fact, his record of anti-Nature invective is one of the few clear intellectual themes one can discern in his speeches. While still governor of California, he made the famous “If you’ve seen one Redwood tree, you’ve seen’em all” remark. He always made the extra effort to revile trees and the people who hugged them, to disseminate ridiculous claims about plants causing pollution, and to strip first California and then the whole country of every park, wilderness or environmental law. As far as I can see, this was his only principle: hatred of life. And the more beautiful and rare the life, the more intense his hatred.
And now the amnesiac selfishness which characterized his whole undeservedly long, comfortable life has finally lapped over the top and stopped his heart. It was typical of him, though, to pick an exit that denied all thought, and all suffering. Those were for lesser breeds.
This article was first published in The eXile on June 10, 2004.
John Dolan is the author of Pleasant Hell.
By John Dolan
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