By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Straight No Chaser: Super ‘Tribute’
Normal 0DENVER (BASN) — Reagan International Airport, the Ronald Reagan Bridge, building, by-pass, overpass, school, hospital, stadium, dog pound . . .
You name it, Right-Wing, god lovin’, gun totin’, underground bomb shelter building conservative “real ” Americans have shoved down the throats of the American people one of their “icons” – who is, more-so today then yester-year, almost universally either disliked or distrusted by most Americans . . .
of color, and most women, and a large slice of “working class America” and surely by the academicians and artist sectors of society.
In the panoply of tributes being paid in memory of Reagan — on what would have been his 100th birthday — the NFL will join in tribute with a video which is to be shown prior to the Super Bowl, highlighting among other things Reagan’s experience as a high school and college sports broadcaster at age 22, and tossing the coin at the start of Super Bowl XIX in 1985.
At least half this country, at any given time does not regard Reagen as their loving grandfather, but instead as a racist, sexist and highly elitist informal dictator who initiated the “Angry White male backlash” the nation is enduring right now.
Ronald “666″ Ray-Gun was, and remains to this day an hero of the rank n’ file Rednecks across the nation, despite his fleecing of the everyday workin’ man. And there’s no question the small “a,” aspiring aristocrat has both embraced and endorsed this man as worthy of Mount Rushmore . . .
Nonetheless, as an American . . . of-color . . . I beg to differ, a whole-hell-of-a lot.
Now I understand my opinions, my viewpoints are as meaningless to angry White Americans as were the South Central L.A. Jury’s verdict in the O.J. Trail . . . but there remain those of us who vividly recall the truth about Reagan. We know he’s little more then a “B-Movie” actor who served as a wrinkled poster boy for this nation’s racist, sexist and elitist investor class.
Here’s let’s roll n’ stroll thru some of his legacy; Reagan opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 - labeling the later “humiliating to the South.”
Reagan ran for governor of California in 1966 promising to wipe the Fair Housing Act off the books. “If an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his house,” he said, “he has a right to do so.”
As President, Reagan cut funding for civil rights enforcement and opposed a Martin Luther King holiday. On numerous occasions, Reagen refereed to Dr. King as a “communist.”
After the Republican convention in 1980, Reagan traveled to the county fair in Neshoba, Mississippi, where, in 1964, three Freedom Riders had been slain by the Ku Klux Klan.
Before an all-white crowd of tens of thousands, Reagan declared: “I believe in states’ rights.” failed to even acknowledge the barbaric and unjust killings of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner,
Reagan, in the middle of an era when the rich were getting fabulously wealthier, the poor were becoming broker and the middle class was shrinking – Reagan flippantly suggested the millions out of work merely pick up a paper and “read the want adds, the papers are full of want jobs.”
Reagan seemed oblivious to the fact he’d help the fat-cats facilitate the exodus of those jobs to Timbuktu, Mexico, China and Saturn. Reagen also orchestrated the assault on organized labor – recall he fired all the Air Traffic controllers because they were Uncle Sam’s employees and had no right to protest work-place conditions.
Reagan supported the apartheid government in South Africa . . .
even labeling Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress a “notorious terrorist” organization.
His tactical usage of Cold War rhetoric, his “fighting communism” was a convenient facade for the racist yearnings of a foreign policy lacking any real concern for human rights and pitted against Black self-determination in Africa.
Reagan attempted to reverse the long-standing policy of denying tax-exempt status to private school that practice discrimination, and his effort to provide an exemption to Bob Jones University.
Key in Reagan being elected was the creation and incorporation of an fictitious “welfare queen” to convince, bring to life in the eye’s of millions of white voters that Black women on welfare were the primary, if not sole reason for their high taxes.
He kicked-off his reelection campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the same local where three civil rights workers were brutally executed by by local Klansmen back in 1964.
Reagan’s decision to announce his candidacy in Philadelphia, MS is not just a coincidence or strategically showing up at “the largest event in the state of Mississippi”.
Reagan had no ties to Mississippi or the Philadelphia area, nor was it a politically important place. His decision to announce there was entirely symbolic, and it was an overt embrace of a legacy of southern racism masked.
He consistently opposed affirmative action and all attempts to seriously enforce civil rights laws, reducing the affirmative action requirements of corporate recipients of federal contracts.
He diminished the role of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department in filing discrimination claims, dramatically cut the federal and state welfare rolls under Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). At one point the administration reduced federal funding for school lunches, going so far as to classify ketchup as a vegetable.
In his early days as governor of California he was a strong foe of the Black Power movement and the organized efforts of college students who opposed the Vietnam conflict.
This is the legacy of Reagan, and I’d submit these, the details of his political career and his tenure in the Oval office is well documented, well known. And I’d also argue it is precisely because of Reagan’s political positions and stands he’s been elevated to “icon” status.
He represents the ‘resistance.” An post civil rights era resistance movement to racial and gender integration into mainstream USA. He is the motivation behind the Republican Revolution of 1992 and the father behind the misguided Tea Party.
He’s the face of the contemporary White backlash driven Republican Tea Party – which screams, with its actions and deeds; I am not my brothers keeper. We are not in this all together.
The GOP company line surly isn’t “one for all and all for one.”
It’s instead a story of “survival of the fittest” with “everybody for themselves.” And that’s the GOP law of the land after almost half-a-millennium of White men pillaging, raping, pimping and exploiting everything they could get their hands on, monopolizing the vital resources required to compete for and attain the ever elusive American Dream.
I got mine . . . by any means required. You get yours the best way you can . . . ahhh, the American way.
So this weekend when you find yourself at the Ronald Reagan memorial park roasting marshmallows remember it was no walk-in-the-park for most Americans while Ronnie “666″ Ray-Gun was at the helm.