Friday, January 11, 2008

Ronald Reagan Day

Sen. Andy Harris, in a move bound to excite the Republican base in his district - to say nothing of Maryland's first Congressional district - is sponsoring a resolution “commemorating former President Ronald Reagan and proposing a day for Marylanders to pay tribute to him.”

For once, I actually agree with the good senator: Let us pay tribute to our nation’s fortieth president.

I suggest we erect a large photo of Reagan in front of every crumbling bridge, alongside every decaying road, adjacent to every dangerously decrepit piece of our deteriorating national infrastructure. Next to his photo will be written, in large letters:

Ronald Reagan said that government is the problem, not the solution. He slashed taxes and helped cement the idea that actually paying for government services is unacceptable. The decay in our national infrastructure you see here is the legacy of Ronald Reagan.

Let’s do something similar to every national institution with insufficient federal support. Schools, national parks, research labs, whatever.

And let us not ignore Reagan’s great contribution to AIDS research, to say nothing of compassion towards those with the disease. Throughout his presidency, he couldn’t even mention the word AIDS. Nor could he be bothered to take a walk across the street to see the AIDS Quilt when it came to Washington. After all, he didn’t want to alienate his “pro-family” supporters by trying to save families with gay men in them.

It’s time to be honest about the real legacy of Ronald Reagan, as well as that of a Republican Party that has followed his reflexively anti-tax, anti-government, and anti-family principles for almost 30 years.