AN ODE TO RONALD REAGAN: WAS IT WORTH IT?
A different view then the one you saw on TV.
AN ODE TO RONALD REAGAN
WAS IT WORTH IT?
Ronald Reagan aged 93,
died of pneumonia at his home in Bel-Air California,
on the 5th of June, 2004.
He was the fortieth president of the USA.
I look at your flag draped coffin
sitting in the US Capital Rotunda.
I visualize you laying inside,
your hands folded across your body.
Yes, you too were mortal.
You traveled with the elite.
Dignitaries attended your viewing.
Common folks had to wait in long lines.
I saw you being carried in a caisson,
used to carry artillery, ammunition, and coffins.
I saw the horse carrying your boots, strapped backwards and empty, in the stirrups;
how grotesque, I thought!
Now you are dead, as
are the folks who took
their own lives, when you
stopped their disability benefits.
Do you remember being criticized for your insensitivity toward the disadvantaged?
Do you remember Nancy being criticized for her lavish spending?
Are you aware by 1982 "Trickle-Down Reaganomics" had failed?
But, you made sure the military industrial complex was well taken care of.
Shame on you!
Your funeral was choreographed by you and Nancy,
while you were being paid to be president.
Ceremony was more important to you than feeding the hungry.
But, it fit your lifestyle: give to the wealthy and take from the poor.
Even in death you screw the people who are materially poor.
Your funeral cost more than most would make in a hundred lifetimes.
Think how many kids that money would feed,
how many families it would house.
While running for president you promoted a return to "traditional" values.
You cultivated an "American West" image.
I gotta tell ya, that "traditional" values thing really spooks me.
Whenever I hear someone espousing that rhetoric I see the poor getting screwed!
Correct me if I'm wrong, but under your administration
The affluent became more wealthy,
the underprivileged got poorer.
And, the number of families living below the poverty line increased by one-third.
Maybe you will meet them
On the other side.
You know who I'm talking about.
The people you chased out of mental hospitals.
Do you remember when poverty and welfare were at crisis levels in the 1980s?
Remember declaring a war on drugs and government?
Remember when you turned your back on the welfare state?
You know, people who needed the most help.
You must have known about the rise in suicides because of your attack on the poor, disabled, and people with mental disabilities.
After your death I looked at the face and in the eyes of Nancy,
my heart tells me two lives have come to an end.
I do believe you had a fifty two year loving relationship with her.
You as I in that respect are very fortunate people.
I have heard you called a class warrior.
You know, screw the materially poor,
but lavish the wealthy.
Kill social welfare programs and increase military funding - spending!
Remember all the government workers
you "riffed" to the streets as soon as you began your first term as president? I do, as they do.
And their families remember you and your insensitivity too.
Right on, you said! Your selective government cuts were Killer cuts! And you knew it!
But you were flying high!
"One for the Gipper!"
Was it worth it?
Yes you were mortal. Did you take your wealth and status to the grave?
Did you know I had a theory as to why you were elected president of the USA?
I believe people felt so powerless about their lives; they voted for a class "B" actor.
They could feel reality was just a movie and they didn't have to worry any-longer.
Me on the other hand, every morning I went out to pick up our paper, and feared looking at the front page, because I was terrified you attacked some country with our nuclear weapons.
Some called you the great communicator!
Or, were you a master at communicating your own perceived greatness?
You knew how important it was for you, yes I'm talking about you, to look good.
After all, your profession was "acting."
Please understand me, Mr. Reagan.
I mean your spirit no harm.
But what you did has been done.
I cannot be responsible for your crimes.
You were the "feel good" president.
You know what I mean.
Make the poor feel good,
while throwing the screws to them.
How about your treatment of the environment?
Do you remember saying "trees pollute?"
How about James Watt?
To paraphrase him, the environment is ours to Dominate!
I remember very well your attacks on organized labor;
your wicked policies set the stage for corporate downsizings.
As you know this caused the dramatic rise in income inequality
separating the haves from the have nots.
How about your inflexible attack on PATCO,
I hope you remember the air controllers union.
How could you turn on your union brothers and sisters.
On the other hand, I walked, in protest of you and your depraved policies,
with these Sisters and Brothers of Humanity.
They were People trying to make a living in a very competitive world.
People trying to feed and cloth their Children, People who put others before themselves.
People who honestly cared about the Constitution of the United States of America.
This is one of the reasons you are known as the quintessential union buster.
You didn't have to worry for your self.
You married a wealthy woman.
You sold your soul to General Electric and the House Un-American Activities Committee.
You knew you were on the "right track," protect the wealthy - big business.
Remember, 1952 you were president of the Screen Actor's Guild.
You entered a liberal Democrat and became an
anti-Communist and FBI informant, cooperating with
You even supported the blacklisting of your own colleagues.
(House Un-American Activities Committee - HUAC)
Ah! But you have done it before,
you must remember the October 20, 1947 House Un-American Activities Committee.
You were one of the "friendlies" testifying against your colleagues.
The result for helping this evil committee was the ruin of the lives of the Hollywood Ten, They thought you were a friend, they trusted you.
Why did you cooperate and give the committee names?
You gave them names of your friends; they believed in you.
I wonder how this made you feel. Was it worth it?
The people you informed on weren't bad people.
Did your cooperation help you acquire a position hosting the General Electric Theater program?
Remember, for the then amazing amount of $125,000 per year.
How about your duties as a spokesman for GE, traveling the country at their expense touring factories and making speeches.
Remember touting free enterprise and damning "Marx-inspired" programs like Medicare and Social Security?
Interesting how in 1961, when questioned by a grand jury about the special consideration your union gave MCA,
You, known for your near photographic memory, recurrently said under oath that "you couldn't remember."
You did the same when questioned during the Iran Contra hearings. How convenient.
I understand you acted as a hothead, with your tough-guy talk,
against hippies, war protesters and campus activists.
You stated "If it's a bloodbath they want, so be it."
I thought students went to school for scholarly purposes.
No big deal, you were developing a "law and order" image for yourself.
What's this I heard? The year was 1967; you were governor, called the "fascist gun in the West."
You ordered the California Highway Patrol and National Guard to occupy the Berkeley campus, with fixed bayonets, no less.
Why this demonstration of force I ask? To protect the campus president's mansion, of course.
And, did I hear the students were armed with text books? Shame on you, the Highway Patrol and the National Guard!
Is this why during your presidency you developed policies which included,
slashing federal grants for poor students and
cutting survivor benefits for families of the disabled?
I guess you believed only the wealthy were entitled to an education.
Remember how your "humming economy" "energized by" your tax cuts;
combined with your heavy military spending, produced crippling budget deficits?
How about your callousness to the poor, and your failure to grasp America's multicultural destiny?
While I'm at it, I will remind you and others that you did little to advance mainstream education or civil rights.
This is what I read and how I read it as the words trickled down.
"Reagonomics" is scrutinized: national debt has tripled,
gap between rich and poor wider than ever, homelessness is rampant,
AIDS becomes an epidemic. Quite a record, Ronnie.
Under your presidential watch until October 1987 you
did almost nothing on behalf of the AIDS epidemic which
led directly to massive setbacks for HIV/AIDS research, intolerance against people with AIDS, and the lack of any inclusive outreach for AIDS prevention or education work.
Not until October 1987 did you speak publicly about the AIDS epidemic.
However, by the end of that year 59,572 AIDS cases had been reported and
27,909 of those women and men had died.
Have you met these souls as you crossed over? I hope you have met each and every one of them!
Adding insult to injury:
by the end of 1989 and your administration, 115,786 women and men had been diagnosed with AIDS in the United States,
and more than 70,000 of them had died.
Why this indifference, emotional callousness, and greed for political power?
I understand your unwillingness to support people with or at risk of acquiring AIDS came about because of contempt, self-imposed ignorance, and political surrender to the rising wave of a new, stalwart, backward-looking, extreme right wing Christian Republican constituency that was to restructure not only the Republican Party but the dignity of American politics as well.
By the way Mr. President, Remember the Savings and Loan debacle?
I and others recognize your administration's zeal for deregulation of that industry
which helped create the savings and loan disaster, which left taxpayers
holding the bag for billions of dollars in losses.
Here we go again! The poor paying for the greed of the wealthiest.
What a romance you had with your banking associates!
Remember "Nancy Reagan Red" and her "just say no" campaign?
Well Ronnie, why didn't you "just say no" to your banking buddies?
Ah! You knew what they wanted and you gave it to them.
Whose side were you on?
I know it wasn't the family farmer's.
I believe it was agribusiness and the banking industry.
Is this what you want to be remembered for?
Well, I must admit the celebration of your death was spectacular!
You and Nancy planned it very well. It was a larger than life event in itself!
However, people I know think it was a waste of money! Propaganda at it's finest!
Money that could be used to feed the poor, house the homeless and create jobs for the unemployed.
That money could have been used on quality education for children of all nations.
Well, you may have done something good.
Rumor has it none of us are all bad.
You did appoint the first woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.
My question, has she benefited the masses or the most wealthy and powerful?
Oh! Did I mention U.S. Supreme Court?
Oooo yes! Sandra Day O' Connor helped "appoint" the
forty third president of the U.S.A.
How did you feel about that?
Well, I wrote a poem about the appointment.
"George W or George W."
George W the first was our first president.
Will George W the second be our last?
Hmmm, I believe your access to the presidency,
was a sleazy process also, after all you became known as the "Teflon president."
I heard something about you negotiating with Ayatollah Khomeini.
You asked him to hold the hostages in Iran long enough for you to win the election.
Upon your exit as president you and your administration were noted as;
flat-out the most anti-democratic, hoodwinking, lying, Constitution-flouting, rich-enriching, deficit-building, environment-despoiling, health-endangering, paranoid, cynical and fundamentally corrupt administration in our nation's history.
Remember 1986, you, or should I say when your administration, sold arms to Islamic fundamentalist in Iran?
The purpose to gain release of American hostages in Lebanon. We know differently, don't we.
You knew very well, the profits were being used to supply anti-Marxist Contra guerrillas fighting in Nicaragua.
Remember November 1979 when 52 Americans were taken hostage in Iran?
Remember January 20, 1981, the day you were inaugurated as president of the USA?
Remember the release of the hostages on that date.
You are not the only person who knows you made a deal with the Iranian government to hold the hostages until that date.
You and your allies set it up so you and Bush the first would be elected.
Dirty politics, yes. Fair to the citizens of the USA, no.
So Bush the second is not the only person to acquire the presidency of the USA by fraud.
You said we the people of the USA live in a Democracy; I say you lied!
Was it worth it? You knew the plight of these innocent humans were in your hands.
That leftist politicians, union leaders and human rights activists who were kidnapped, tortured and/or murdered by the Salvadoran death squads.
You know, the same Contras you supported illegally.
How sad! Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of defenseless peasants were slaughtered in the Guatemalan highlands.
The good news was that the Tower Committee found you responsible for a "lax management style and trading arms for hostages."
Of course, after you are caught you finally admit that there was an arms-for-hostages deal with Iran.
"Congress will not formally investigate charges that the Reagan campaign stole the election in 1980, in large part because Israel's supporters on Capitol Hill do not want to put the spotlight on Israel's role, which during that period sold weapons to Iran in blatant disregard of President Carter." Richard H. Curtiss, a retired US foreign service officer, is executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
Some people maintain the Iran-Contra fiasco was a more impeachable offense than Watergate.
What do you think?
Knowing what you know now,
Would you do it again today?
Here we are in the year 2004.
Others have said, and I believe, your actions helped us get to where we are today.
What do I mean?
Your relationship with Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.
Some tell us the September 11, 2001 attack on the USA was initiated by
radical Islamic Fundamentalists, because they were "jealous of our lifestyle."
That they want our freedoms and democracy.
Others tell us, Osama bin Laden included, that they are unhappy with our invasion and occupation of Islamic countries.
Imagine the nerve of him, after you trained him and all!
Remember your cynical promotion of Islamic fundamentalism,
as a weapon against the Soviets in Afghanistan?
Well, we are still paying for this doctrine of yours in blood.
And, how about your alliance of convenience with Saddam Hussein against Iran?
And, the forging of a new "tactical relationship" with Israel?
And, how about your corrupt dealings with the House of Saud?
What other shoddy relationships you had during your lifetime we may never know.
According to a 9/23/02 Newsweek, article
"During the Reagan years, the U.S. offered significant support to Iraq, including weapons components, military intelligence, and even some of the ingredients for manufacturing biological weapons like anthrax."
Now what's all the fuss about today? You gave it to them!
What's this I've heard about "you" defeating Communism?
Some say it was Mikhail Gorbachev, some say it was you.
They say it takes two to tango or tangle.
Maybe both of you ended the cold war with lots of help from Human Beings.
I cried with Nancy the night she hugged your coffin.
Your daughter, Patti came and hugged her.
As did Michael & Ron.
My sadness came as the result of seeing two lives end at the same time.
My feelings of sadness weren't so much about you and Nancy.
It had more to do with my thinking of my life with Mary.
It had to do with thinking about beloved ones I have lost and loved ones I will lose.
It came about because I am human and we have these kinds of thoughts and feelings.
With all said and done,
you as I are not perfect.
I can't help but have a soft spot in my heart for you,
after all you were human.
Well Ronnie, here it is the 4th of July,
I've worked on this ode for almost a month.
Last week Mary and I were walking in Lancaster, NY.
A very strong breeze was blowing through the trees.
I can still hear the wonderful voices of the elders.
Yes, I have been told by indigenous people,
that these beautiful breezes whispering through the tree tops,
are the voices of the Elders.
I asked Mary if your voice would be included with the ones we were hearing.
To tell you the truth Ronnie, I don't think you could ever be included with these noble spirits.
I believe it is people like you who assumed native people were in the way of "progress."
What a wonderful experience, hearing the Elders whisper to Mary and myself.
Yes, you too were mortal.
You traveled with the elite.
Dignitaries attended your viewing.
Common folks had to wait in long lines.
Well Ron, was it worth it?
This Ode is dedicated to My Aunt Bet who died on July 4th 1995.
Pete Anderson July 4th 2004
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