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5/30/01


 

THE REAGAN LEGACY PROJECT

By David Podvin

Conservative activist Grover Norquist is leading a campaign to honor Ronald Reagan by putting the former president’s name on as many public buildings as possible. Thus far, the Reagan Legacy Project has succeeded in renaming Washington National Airport after the man who resisted pressure to obsess about passenger safety and wisely fired the country’s most capable air traffic controllers. It has also been successful in putting his name on hundreds of schools and government offices nationwide, with the stated intention of having him become the most honored president ever. Soon, Reagan tributes will eclipse those that are dedicated to his less important predecessors, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

And the Reagan Legacy Project has only just begun. The ambitious Mr. Norquist has big plans:

   Erecting a President Reagan Monument on the national mall in Washington, D.C.
   Putting President Reagan’s face on Mount Rushmore.
   Replacing Alexander Hamilton on the ten dollar bill with President Reagan.

All of this is doubtlessly well intended.

But it is totally inadequate.

If we are going to honor our fortieth president, whose legendary charm still makes nostalgic mainstream reporters get flushed and start swooning, then let’s pay proper tribute to his many considerable accomplishments.  

It is a miscarriage of justice that every freeway underpass in America is not named the “Ronald Reagan Homeless Shelter”. As governor of California, Dutch was in the vanguard of paying for tax cuts by emptying state run mental hospitals. Patients who had families were sent home. Patients who did not have families were thrown out alone onto the streets, which conservative experts have determined is the best place for mentally disturbed people who are not self-sufficient. And don’t allow liberal revisionist historians to underplay the former president’s crucial roll in dramatically reducing the size of the social safety net in order to cut the top marginal tax rate. With just one mighty stroke of the pen, he created more homeless people and he created more yachts for Republican financiers. Who says life requires tradeoffs? We must memorialize these accomplishments so that future generations will never forget that none of it could have happened without America’s finest actor at the helm.

Another practical tribute to the great man would be to kill every tree in America by coating them with nonstick synthetic resin. This will create an eternal monument to the pivotal role in the Reagan Administration that the media played by closing their eyes to any and all imperfections of the man that they turned into our beloved Teflon President. Additionally, it will allow our descendants to breathe air that is completely free of smog. In this way, future generations will always appreciate President Reagan for his cutting edge scientific research into the previously uninvestigated scandal of pollution-emitting forests.

Rather than insulting the former president by putting his likeness on the ten dollar bill, we should trumpet the magnitude of his economic accomplishments by creating a new denomination of currency just for him. Listen to the majestic poetry of this, Grover – the six trillion dollar I.O.U.

We should use tax dollars to subsidize a private sector salute to President Reagan. My suggestion is to pay the Heinz Corporation for the privilege of having them place his likeness on every bottle of ketchup, so that we will never forget about his humane commitment to provide a balanced diet to even the most humble of America’s schoolchildren.

In order to honor President Reagan’s many attempts to eliminate the National Endowment For The Arts, it would be fitting to replace the outdated leftist paintings in America’s museums with sparkling new conservative portraits. What true lover of art wants to look at someone’s wrinkled old mother sitting in a rocking chair when they could be admiring the champion of slashing Social Security benefits sitting astride a horse?

There are statues of Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman all over the place. Well, maybe not in the South. After all, what did these two guys really accomplish? They militarily brought an end to slavery. Let’s see how many standing ovations that gets them at the next Republican National Convention. We should knock down all of those undeserved monuments and replace them with gleaming bronze likenesses of a true military hero - the Liberator Of Grenada.

Cemeteries in San Francisco and other urban areas should contain large effigies of President Reagan’s hearing aids, turned to the off position. This will set the historical record straight, clarifying that he really was unable to hear the desperate pleas for help that came from the gay community during the height of the AIDS crisis.

President Reagan’s legacy has been shortchanged in the area of human rights. He boldly supported authoritarian dictators on every continent except Antarctica, which was too leftist to have any authoritarian dictators. He refused on principle to take the trendy route of opposing apartheid. He thrilled real Americans when he thumbed his nose at the liberal crybabies by kicking off his 1984 reelection campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, a town that symbolized the euthanasia of three carpet bagging civil rights agitators. If President Kennedy is entitled to the eternal flame in Arlington National Cemetery, then President Reagan certainly has certainly earned the eternal burning cross.

Of course, there has to be a grand tribute to honor the greatness of President Reagan’s most magnificent accomplishment; single handedly bringing the Soviet Union to its knees. There is only one appropriate way to honor the man who destroyed the Evil Empire by proposing the Strategic Defense Initiative. That is to implement the ultimate in security programs – the Personal Defense Initiative. Like SDI, it will be prohibitively expensive. And, like SDI, it will be scientifically unworkable. However, consider what a wonderful salute it will be to the former president when every American is surrounded by their own personal system of orbiting satellites that will be equipped with sophisticated laser technology designed to shoot down anything from incoming missiles to hungry mosquitoes. As with SDI, the concept is so comforting, and so effectively redistributes wealth from middle class taxpayers to Republican contributors in the aerospace industry, that whether the system actually works is totally beside the point.

We should rename the nation of Guatemala “Reagan Country”. This will honor the former president for patriotically embezzling our tax dollars in order to finance the assassination squads that taught tens of thousands of peasants the true meaning of “better dead than red”. If Guatemala stubbornly rejects our right to rename “their” country, then we can subtly remind them that the College Of The Americas is still using the same curriculum that it was teaching in the 1980s.

Finally, the ultimate homage to our most admirable leader should be the inclusion of the words “I don’t remember” in the presidential oath of office (“Did you trade arms for hostages?” “I don’t remember.” “Did you lie to the American people about it?” “I don’t remember.” “Did you violate the constitution that you had sworn to uphold?” “I don’t remember?” “Did you commit multiple felonies by illegally using taxpayer money to finance your private genocidal war in Central America?” “I don’t remember.”).

Great men deserve great tributes.

Grover Norquist’s group is doing America a disservice by failing to properly honor President Ronald Wilson Reagan.  

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