In a poll conducted jointly by 60 minutes and Vanity Fair 36% of Americans said that they wanted Ronald Reagan back to lead the United States through the horrible economy we are currently enduring, while 29% of Americans would want to see FDR leading the country now. Per an ABC news report on Mt. Rushmore:
Given their way, some conservatives would jump at any chance to round out South Dakota’s iconic Mt. Rushmore with their hero 40th president, Ronald Reagan.
When Reagan was first elected I was in middle school. I remember sitting in my 8th grade history class when the news was broadcast across the intercom system that he had been shot. I am almost ashamed to admit it but a cheer went out across the classroom of blue-collar children. Our history teacher Mr. Schuster immediately chastised us for cheering, and rightly so. We were too young to remember JFK, MLK and RFK being shot, and did not understand the implications of a President being assassinated. We only saw him as the guy our parents talked about at the dinner table, normally referred to as, “That goddamn Reagan.” Later that summer PATCO went on strike and he not only fired those that went on strike, the bastard blackballed them.
My dad, a Teamster, knew what was coming. He knew that because of Reagan’s actions unions would begin to fall. It wasn’t much longer after that that my dad would be proven right—just not in the way he expected. His boss, Duane Bowman Jr. tried to bust Teamsters Local 695 at Dane County Dairy. While my dad and his coworkers did eventually win their case against their former employer, the damage was done and Dane County Dairy was no longer a union shop (it was also forced out of business because of the settlement).
My family was not the only one who suffered at the hands of Ronald Reagan. Our country is littered with the figurative corpses of a dying labor movement. All of it was kicked off by Ronald Reagan; he is who the finger of blame should be pointed when we look at the gap between the wealthiest 1 percent and the rest of us. He gave us the despicable economic sleight of hand called trickle down economics. I am still waiting to get my trickle—but at this point, I am not holding my breath.
Grover Norquist recently said:
“Reagan was the most successful president of the 20th century. He took a country that was in economic collapse and military in retreat round the globe and turned it completely around.”
Ronald Reagan was not the most successful president of the 20th century. Not by a long shot: that title belongs to FDR. Reagan was an old man with Alzheimer’s who should have never been elected in the first place. But, Americans being Americans bought his lies hook, line and sinker because he had a damn good PR department and no one bothered to look behind the curtain.
Instead of building shrines for the cult of Reagan to worship we should be tearing monuments in his image and his name down because of the devastation he wrought across this once great nation.