Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ah, History: The GTL Learns Something New Every Day.

I have grown pretty sick over the years of hearing so-called "conservatives" crow about what a great president Ronald Reagan was.

To me, this hoary chestnut is the greatest fallacy of our political times. Reagan was a dreadful president. He courted racists with coded "states' rights" language, he broke the back of American labor, he refused to enforce workplace-safety and equality rules, and he actually lobbied the Ayatollah in Iran to keep our hostages in bondage until his inauguration day, so he could triumphantly exclaim, during his speech, that they were on a plane, in the air now, heading home.

Such stagecraft, using the American people as props, came sickeningly to mind in 2003 when George W. Bush used an aircraft carrier, a beautiful sunset, a jet plane, a flight suit, a carrier-full of loyal, fresh-faced American sailors, and that famous "mission accomplished" banner to achieve the same effect.

Calling our adversaries evil, proclaiming America God's country, bringing religious fanatics into public prominence. Crassly manipulating patriotic images that keep Joe Six-Pack drunk on fear and nationalism, unable to think straight, not wanting to. Not my favorite presidents, people.

Most annoying has been the claim, repeated over and over, again and again, that Ronald Reagan "ended the cold war."

Today, in a NY Times article by Thomas Friedman about the U.S.' bargaining position with Iran in the coming presidential administration, comes a more plausible reason for the fall of the U.S.S.R., from a Russian expert on the subject:

"... it was the long period of high oil prices followed by sharply lower oil prices that killed the Soviet Union. "


This is big news for me and the gang down here behind the sand bags and razor wire at GTL HQ. Conserving gasoline, driving smaller cars, harnessing wind, solar, geothermal, hydro power - these are the ways to not only clean our planet, keep today's American "petrodollars" at home tomorrow, provide high-tech jobs for millions of Americans and revive our economy, but also to hoist our adversaries on their own petard and thus defeat them bloodlessly.

Best of all, it is a surprisingly understandable and rational history lesson for those of us who remember Ronald Reagan as the avuncular face of a cruel and retrograde political movement, one that has spread through our country like a cancer and finally threatened, at its apotheosis under Reagan's spiritual offspring, George W. Bush, to kill the host outright.

Thanks and a hearty shout-out on this chilly morning to Thomas Friedman, for a history lesson we've been eagerly awaiting for decades.

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