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March 23, 2016

No Eulogy for Her

Tom McLaughlin

I really don't remember much about the Reagan Administration. I was overseas working in Saudi Arabia and then started my teaching career in Berlin, Maryland.


I do remember President Reagan getting shot, the insane "Star Wars" proposal and Ollie North. In my mind's eye he was just an affable old gentleman who slept through eight years of being president.


However, others, especially conservatives, remember him fondly as the leader of the conservatives who radically changed America. To them, he was an icon of respectability and a hero most would like to emulate. That's fine, if they want someone to snooze through the next eight years.


Perhaps I am being too harsh on the elderly statesman. He did work and compromised with Tip O'Neill, the Democratic Speaker of the House. I guess they managed to compromise on most things because I don't remember getting too excited about many things. Like I say, his administration was one big yawn.


The one person I do remember was Nancy Reagan. She died just a week or so ago, and I thought she had been dead for years. Maybe she caught the Alzheimer's from him, or maybe she just wore out. One thing about her was that she was mean lady. A cobra was nicer than she was.


Her one big glory was the "Just Say No" program to thwart illegal drugs. Large corporations picked up on her slogan and "Just Say No" was everywhere. The trouble was, it was an unmitigated failure. Asking people to "just say no" was akin to saying yes as eyes rolled. To corporate America, this was one slogan they could get behind to show they supported the Reagans and, hopefully, be rewarded with lucrative government contracts.


Princess Diana, at the time, was going into hospitals embracing AIDS patients when few knew what the disease was or did. She was pioneer in securing funding for AIDS research in Great Britain and worldwide, except in America.


Mrs. Reagan wouldn't have any part of it. Even her good friend, Rock Hudson, was barred from the White House. Of course, at the time, only blacks and gays got the disease, two groups of people who were mostly Democrats and not behind the presidents' agenda. Her viciousness against these poor individuals was legendary.


Another part of herself that people claim was important was her devotion to the president. After all, he was in the beginnings of dementia and needed help. Unlike Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, who read policy papers, she consulted an astrologer.


I don't think we will ever know to what extent the astrologer influenced the lady. If we go by her word, it was just dates and times on when to travel. However, I think it was more, much more, than that.


Many people, during this election cycle, recall a sleepy old gentleman from California and hope to emulate him, but nobody wants to remember his sadistic wife. A real behind the scenes fishwife who, when challenged, like Donald Regan did, had him fired because of his insurgency.


...Life is good. . . . .


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