In an attempt to fill a few hours on a Sunday and distract myself from the current GOP endeavor to enrich the rich and punish the rest, especial those who dare to live in blue states with strong economies, I found myself wandering about The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with my family. Let me say up front, that I wasn’t a big fan of Reagan, as I believe many of his actions as President have led directly to what we have today, a malicious administration attempting to undermine almost everything America stands, while putting people in positions where they can cause the most harm, harm that could take years, if not decades to repair. Simply put, if the Trump administration was a naturally occurring incident, almost everything it’s touched would be declared a national disaster area. That being said, I’m big history nerd so there isn’t a Presidential Library I wouldn’t go to, though I can see one coming down the line that couldn’t pay me to visit. More importantly, this one has an old Boeing 707 that served as Air Force One for seven Presidents, so what’s not to like?
As I walked around the museum and was reminded of such things as the deregulation of the Savings & Loan industry, ignoring the increasing AIDS epidemic, selling arms to Iran and Iraq, the firing of the Air Traffic Controllers, one of the earlier steps towards destroying unions, giving the religious right the keys to drive the Republican agenda, putting Antonin Scalia onto the Supreme Court, foisting the erroneous and dishonest idea that Supply Side or Trickle Down economics actually works, and brainwashing a generation into believing, against its own best interests, that all government is bad, I weirdly found myself becoming nostalgic for the good old days of President Ronnie.
I tried as best I could to embrace my condemnation for the direction that he steered the country towards, but as hard as I tried, I had to admit to myself that I never felt the utter revulsion for him personally, that I feel today towards the horrific embarrassment that disgraces the White House and its previous residents merely by his narcissistic and repulsive presence. I might not have liked any of his policies, but I never thought of Reagan as a horrible human being who was only about his own ego and self-interest. I never thought that Reagan hated minorities or the poor, or pretty much anyone who couldn’t afford a membership to an exclusive golf club. Oh, he might not have cared that much about those who he was hurting with his policies and in the case of AIDS he could have done much more to help get an early jump on slowing it’s spread instead of choosing not to do anything, but I never felt he personally hated people, as opposed to our current leader who every morning seems to tweet a list of people he hates. By the end of the afternoon, I was even ready to even claim that I wish Reagan was President today.
And then I started to think about other past Presidents who I wasn’t a great fan of. I had no problem with W’s invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11, but I think his expansion of the war into neighboring countries has probably done more to destabilize and endanger the world than any action a world leader has taken since the 1930s. Of course I hold America’s own Darth Vader, one Dick Cheney, more responsible for the on-going disaster, as I believe he and his cronies were the ones driving the ship of state during W’s first term. At the end of the day I could picture myself having a beer at a baseball game with W, while the visceral distaste of Trump has been stuck in my craw since the 1970s.
Old man Bush was basically so unremarkable and almost inconspicuous as President that outside of the first Gulf War, I can’t think of anything he did, which in many ways is exactly what we want from a President. Sign a few proclamations, pardon the turkey and don’t damage the furniture. Then again, I never found myself standing a bit too close to him for a picture, which it now turns out probably would have been a more memorable experience.
Even given the chance of Nixon back in the Oval Office I would jump at it. Sure, Tricky Dick was a paranoid, self-destructive, lying, anti-Semite but who among doesn’t have a few faults. No, given the choice of any of the 44 previous Presidents I would gladly have any of them sitting on their ass behind the Resolute desk that the current ass that’s there. Okay, maybe not number 15, Buchanan, who managed to drive the country into the Civil War, but in all fairness to James, he was provoking a conflict between two sides armed with muskets and cannonballs. Trump’s confrontational demeanor is directed towards a fellow nut job who has nuclear weapons and a vengeful disposition.
While Trump campaigns to Make America Great Again, which in the mind of his supporters is the 1950s, when the US and white men ruled the world and women and minorities knew their place, or in Judge Roy Moore’s view the 1850s, when American’s families were united, except for those families that were sold off piecemeal in order to buy a new dress for Anna Belle’s upcoming Cotillion, I think it’s time for Americans to start a new campaign. Whether it takes three more years or less, let’s vow to consign the current occupant of the White House to the dustbin of history, which is better than he deserves and Make Presidents Great Again. You can order your hat now.