While many on my side of the spectrum have pointed out flaws in Reagan's policies that should make today's conservatives shiver at the notion of making him their hero, as well as pointing out his lack of attention in the early days of the AIDS crisis, those who are "celebrating Reagan's legacy" are consuming themselves with making him less of a person and more of a marketing commodity.
It all reminds me of the the Adult Swim cartoon series, The Boondocks when it featured a "what if" episode starring Martin Luther King, Jr. Apparently according to the episode, King wasn't assassinated in 1968 but put into a coma.
What he finds when he wakes up is a world not geared to listen to his nonviolent philosophy but willing to market his image on everything, include fast food place mats.
A constant refrain of King was that he should somehow get some type of licensing over his image.
Somehow, I think if Reagan were alive, he would be asking the same question.
The ad on the top left is from a group boycotting the conservative CPAC conference because they resent having a gay group, GOProud, being one of the sponsors.
Apparently their full page ad is a way of bringing Reagan's legacy on board with their crusade.
The irony is that the ad (and you can see a full pdf of it here) doesn't even have any statements from Reagan regarding the LGBT community.
Granted, it's not to say that Reagan was the LGBT community's best friend, so to speak. But the ad, signed by such prominent anti-gay crusaders as Brian Camenker of Mass Resistance, Robert Knight of the Americans Civil Rights Union, World Net Daily, and Don Wildmon of the American Family Association (i.e. Bryan Fischer), seems to be wanting to exploit Reagan's prominence in the conservative movement while omitting certain incidents which may contradict the ad itself.
Like the 1978 situation regarding the Briggs Amendment in California. The Briggs Amendment would have barred gays and lesbians from teaching in the state's public schools. Reagan came out publicly against the amendment, even writing an editorial to the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner outlining why the Amendment should be defeated. Reagan said in part:
Whatever else it is, homosexuality is not a contagious disease like the measles. Prevailing scientific opinion is that an individual's sexuality is determined at a very early age and that a child's teachers do not really influence this.
His opposition to the Amendment played a part in its defeat.
So what have we learned here? Nothing about Reagan, really. But more and more about the lack of integrity of those wanting to condemn LGBTs to a second class status. And not caring who they exploit to achieve this goal.
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