June 6th, 2004

flavored with age

Sorry for x-posting this everywhere, but...

"I think we should." (Reagan in 1982, signing off on a memo to grant tax-exempt status to the then-racially segregated Bob Jones University)

"There are a million people more working than there were in 1980." (Reagan in 1982, even though there were actually 100,000 fewer people working)

"It is news that some fellow out in South Succotash someplace has just been laid off?" (Reagan in 1982, responding to media coverage about increasing unemployment)

"Just remember, for every person who is out of work, there are nine of us with jobs." (Reagan in 1982, on the 10% unemployment rate)

"How would you like to trade? I've got some amendments I'm very interested in, too. What about trading for making abortion illegal?" (Reagan in 1983, to a group of GOP congresswomen lobbying for the Equal Rights Amendment)

"There must be something wrong with the (nuclear arms) freeze if the Soviets want it." (Reagan in 1983)

"One problem we've had, even in the best of times, is the people who are sleeping on the grates, the homeless who are homeless, you might say, by choice." (Reagan in 1984)

"Anyone that's ever had their kitchen done over knows that it never gets done as soon as you wish it would." (Reagan in 1984, on why security measures were not taken that might have prevented the death of over 200 Marines in Beirut)

"I'm no linguist, but I have been told that in the Russian language, there isn't even a word for freedom." (Reagan in 1985)

"Well, Mike, I bombed Libya for you." (Reagan in 1985, speaking to Michael Deaver, whose ethical violations had been much in the news at the time)

"Why not invite Q'addafi to San Francisco, he likes to dress up so much? Why don't we give him AIDS?" (Reagan to cabinet officials in 1986)

"This whole thing boils down to great irresponsibility on the part of the press." (Reagan in 1986, on who exactly is to blame for the Iran-Contra scandal)

"I don't know." (said 83 times by President Reagan during the Iran-Contra hearings)

"A Soviet disinformation campaign in this country has made anti-Communism unfashionable. Back when McCarthy ahd the HUAC would investigate subversives -- they've done away with those committees. That shows the success of what the Soviets were able to do in those countries." (Reagan in 1987)

"He was not an addict. He was nothing of that kind." (Reagan in 1987, defending Supreme Court nominee and admitted pot smoker Douglas Ginsburg, after 7 years of extraordinary harsh rhetoric against causal drug use)

"The US has provided millions of acres for preservations -- or the reservations, I should say, so that the Indians could maintain their way of life. But maybe we should not have humored them in that, wanting to stay in that kind of primitive lifestyle. Maybe we should have said 'No, come join us. Be citizens along with the rest of us.'" (Reagan in 1988)

"Look, I'm not going to pick on an invalid." (Reagan in 1988, referring to false rumors that Michael Dukakis twice consulted a psychiatrist for depression)

"Children, if your parents haven't been teaching you what it means to be an American, let 'em know and nail 'em on it. That would be a very American thing to do." (Reagan in 1989)

I'm sorry for friends and family who had to see him suffer -- sorrier than he ever was for the friends and family of those who suffered during his administration from poverty, homelessness, and unemployment. I'm glad that his suffering led to increased awareness of and research into the horror of Alzheimers', but I can't help but wish that the suffering of hundreds of thousands in the 1980s had convinced him to increase awareness of and research into the horror of AIDS, instead of instilling in him blind ignorance, denial and prejudice.

Death doesn't reform you. Death doesn't turn a bad man into a good man, or erase his crimes. Nixon didn't suddenly become a decent human being just because he died, and neither did Reagan.