Reagan's Hurtful Side

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by nycflasher, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    Ronald Reagan's Hurtful Side
    June 12, 2004
    by Stan Simpson
    source

    When I think of Ronald Reagan, I think of Nelson Mandela.

    One is without question one of the great men of modern times. The other, well, was a bad actor.

    Now that Reagan is buried, there's no better time to unearth the truth of his distorted legacy. His civil and human rights record was so deplorable it anchors him among the lower rung of modern presidents. His indifference to South Africa's apartheid government needlessly added to Mandela's 27-year prison term.

    While the Great Communicator harangued Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down that Berlin Wall, he apparently got laryngitis and didn't push South Africa's racist white-minority rulers to end its government-sanctioned oppression of the black majority.

    Instead, Reagan, who valued South Africa's anti-Communist standing, proposed "constructive engagement" with its leaders, essentially an endorsement of the status quo. Had America stepped up with sanctions, which is what most of the world was doing, apartheid would have tumbled sooner than 1994, when a released Mandela was elected president.

    "With specific regards to human rights, the Reagan era left a lot to be desired," says Richard A. Wilson, director of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut.

    "Reagan could have supported multiracial elections in [South Africa] much, much sooner. A policy of `constructive engagement' was not a clear lead or stance in the awfulness that was apartheid."

    Insensitivity, particularly to people of color, was the hallmark of Reagan's eight years in office. He kicked off his presidential campaign in 1980, not in his California hometown, but in Philadelphia, Miss. - notorious for the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers. In espousing a "states' rights" agenda - translated into "pro-segregation" in the South - Reagan let the good ol' boys know he'd have their back.

    When Reagan signed the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday into law in 1983, he couldn't resist a dig at the slain civil rights leader. When asked if he thought King was a communist sympathizer, Reagan responded, "We'll know in 35 years, won't we?" - referring to the time frame in which classified FBI tapes would be released.

    His administration made the mindless suggestion, in an effort to cut back on free school lunch programs, that ketchup and relish could be considered vegetables. America's 40th president opposed affirmative action, appointed mostly conservative judges and civil rights commissioners, supported Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran, and backed a slew of rightist dictators. As he was with apartheid, the Gipper's silence about a raging AIDS epidemic spoke volumes.

    In commemorating World War II, Reagan, against the advice of his advisers and Jewish leaders, laid a wreath in 1985 at a cemetery in Bitburg, West Germany - the resting place of more than 40 Nazi soldiers of the notorious Waffen SS.

    "I don't know what his personal feelings may have been," Julian Bond, chairman of the national NAACP, said over the phone Friday. "But whatever they were, his political feelings were developed to appeal to that group of Americans who aren't comfortable with democracy and justice and fair play."

    This week's mourning of Reagan was nauseating because so many engaged in a whitewashing of his record. You can't evaluate Bill Clinton without mentioning Monica. You can't revisit Nixon without bringing up Watergate. And you cannot anoint Reagan as one of our great presidents without talking about his thoughtless actions on civil and human rights.

    Reagan's self-effacing charm, one-liners and avuncular ways made some look past his shortsighted public policy. "His personality trumped his politics," Bond says. "He apparently was a decent human being, loved his wife, was friendly to all. And that geniality for many people masked the bad side of his politics."

    In the plus ledger, Reagan brought pride and toughness to the United States after a Jimmy Carter era that had us looking soft. Reagan's influence in ending the Cold War with the Soviets was significant. His survival of an assassination attempt from a kook named Hinckley was heroic.

    In the sunset of his life and battling the debilitation of Alzheimer's, the man who elevated the conservative political movement engendered something he doled out sparingly as president.

    Compassion.



    Stan Simpson's column appears Wednesdays and Saturdays. He can be reached at ssimpson@courant.com.

    E-mail: simpson@courant.com

    If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at ctnow.com/archives.
     
  2. eric
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    eric Guest

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    Get a grip little boy; I doubt you are even old enough to remember or appreciate what this man did for our great nation. Whats the matter didn't he cater enough to the gay community, you know, your little butt buddies.
     
  3. OCA
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    OCA Senior Member

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    Here come the bitter history revisionists, the fucking left is just jealous that they have never had or never will have anybody with the popularity of Reagan. He stood up for what was right and I guess since he didn't throw billions of dollars at needless social programs and apartheid didn't end under his tenure he was bad on civil rights. Lol what a bitter group Democrats are.
     
  4. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    1. I'm 6'5", 220lbs.- you're the little man.
    2. I didn't write this article, Stan Simpson--a columnist I like-- did.
    3. I was 13 when Reagan left office, but I do know how to read. And I do, voraciously.
    4. What the fuck is your problem, asshole?

    Go drink some coffee and stop the hate, you stupid roid-raging fuckwad. :D
     
  5. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Out of respect for the dead and thier loved ones, trashing someone at thier funeral is just not something that is done. No, Reagan wasn't perfect and apparently many now feel the need to point that out. Fine. He was however a man who was loved and respected by millions of people world wide. He obviously did something to earn it.
     
  6. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    "This week's mourning of Reagan was nauseating because so many engaged in a whitewashing of his record. You can't evaluate Bill Clinton without mentioning Monica. You can't revisit Nixon without bringing up Watergate. And you cannot anoint Reagan as one of our great presidents without talking about his thoughtless actions on civil and human rights."

    Do you agree with that at all, OCA?
    I think it's a good point.
     
  7. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    It's important to learn from OUR successes AND failures, no?
     
  8. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Of course--and we will now here from Reagans critics who want to point out his failures. It will also be nauseating
     
  9. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    lol
    So, anything about Reagan nauseates you?
     
  10. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    The eternal funeral did get a bit long but it was nice to see people show thier respects to a leader instead of thier disdain. Optimism was a nice change.
     

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