Hold up. Slow down. If you wait a half a second, there'll be time for me to hop on the Ronald Reagan 100th birth anniversary bandwagon, onto which I plan on leaping with both feet. Well, to be honest, not so much jumping on, as using a Sherman Tank to slam sideways into it, then soaking the floor-boards with fermented cabbage shreds marinated in red wine vinegar infused deer urine. Because, like it or not, a certain amount of pendulum swing is necessary here less the gods descend enraged, and blind us for our collective self inflicted myopia.
We can be forgiven for feeling fittingly dazed and confused from the deluge of month- long wall-to-wall television specials, radio reports and magazine cover stories all tinged in that faint beige gauzy haze of selective memory that so easily metastasizes into revisionist history. The man was not Saint Ronny. He was an actor, who legendarily turned down Bogart's part in the movie Casablanca. Think how history would have changed: Bogart might have become president. Then again, Casablanca would be a lousy movie.
Some folks have been so feverish with Reagan-Palooza there's renewed talk of putting his face on the ten- dollar bill. Excuse me? Wouldn't food stamps be more appropriate? Or considering what he did for Wall Street, maybe the ten thousand dollar bill. On a related note, the US Postal Service unveiled the third stamp honoring the 40th POTUS, the distinction being this is a forever stamp, so apropos when you consider his legacy on America's disenfranchised.
Let us not forget, the Father of Modern Conservatism routinely fell asleep during Cabinet meetings, consulted astrology charts for the most auspicious time to take foreign policy trips, said ketchup is a vegetable and trees cause pollution. Hey, I got a funny joke for you: What did they call the homeless before Reagan. Mental patients! Does the term Jared Loughner have any meaning here?
And yes, I am cognizant of the depth of reeking heap of steaming feces into which I'm stepping, in these Tea Partyish times where taking out Reagan is sacrilege. Like painting horns on posters of the Pope at a convent for retired nuns. Singing Hello Dalai at Richard Gere's house. Think Mother Teresa with fractionally less leper activity.
An example: his son, Ron Jr., wrote a book and in it, intimated that dad may have, once or twice, possibly exhibited symptoms of forgetfulness while in the Oval Office and kablam! The righteous right came down on him like a wall of bricks on a grape. Totally ignoring 1994, when Dutch himself wrote a letter to the press detailing his Alzheimer's disease diagnosis. My theory is he wrote the letter 12 years earlier and just forgot to mail it. I was never afraid he was going to push the button, I always worried he was going to nod off and fall on it.
Then again, maybe the human male lead in Bedtime for Bonzo really does possess mystical powers. Both Sarah Palin and Barack Obama took pains to be seen singing psalms to the Great Communicator and when these two star-crossed lovers can carve time out from their busy schedule of peering into focus group mirrors, we're talking a miracle. Like most Presidents, Obama is just a figurehead, but Reagan... was a hood ornament. A position Governor Palin merely aspires to.
San Francisco based political comedian, Will Durst, often writes, this being an example.
Coming soon from Ulysses Press: "Where the Rogue Things Go!" Pre- order your copy at Amazon. Now. Go on. Do it.