Saturday, November 01, 2003

10-28-03 Column 

Mr. Thomas is mad about CBS' upcoming miniseries about Ronald Reagan. Apparently, the show gives Reagan "credit for ending the Cold War and depicts him as an exceptionally good politician and moral man". Yeah, that does piss me off! How can Reagan be responsible for ending the Cold War when all evidence shows the rotten communist system collapsed from within? And how can anyone consider Reagan to be a moral man after all the support he gave to death squads and fascist regimes in Central and South America? Oh wait, Mr. Thomas likes that part of the movie. He doesn't like the move portraying Reagan saying people who contracted AIDS were beng punished for their sins. Mr. Thomas states that's false. His evidence: Reagan was actually nice to some homosexuals. Yeah, and Richard Nixon hired some Jews, Thomas Jefferson slept with a slave, and Saddam Hussein was nice to Dan Rather. So what? It's quite common for a bigot to see the humanity of an individual person, while still hating the entire group (blacks, gays, Jews) that that person belongs to. As a successful longtime Hollywood actor, Reagan probably found himself in contact with many homosexuals. For all we know, playing nice with them was good for his career. And citing Reagan's letter to Elisabeth Glaser hardly undercuts Reagan's (alleged) bigotry since she (famously) contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion, NOT from living a "sinful" lifestyle. Most disengenuous Mr. Thomas.

Mr. Thomas recommends a collection of Reagan's letters for readers to get to know the "real" Ronald Reagan. No doubt a president's own letters are valuable tools to any historian. However, to take any public figures' own statements at face value is incredibly naive, even if that person is as "successful and beloved" as Reagan.

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