Drooling on the Pillow

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Some Cracks Can't be Fixed 

Am I wrong to perceive a sort of nervousness in the commentary surrounding the death of Ronald Reagan? The people who loved him praise him, the people who loathed him denigrate him. All to be expected of the man who led us into [the crack of doom][the dawn of a glorious new era].

There have been gracious and appreciative words from political enemies (Mondale, Gorbachev) and proper, but tight-lipped mumblings from others (Carter). The right is watching the left carefully for traces of bitterness and meanness. The left is watching the right for any misappropriation of credit.

It feels like this is going to be a long week for some. Friday? I have to be polite until Friday?

Fissures have appeared. Bogus stories are resuscitated. If you have any doubt that when George W. Bush dies we'll be hearing about fake, plastic turkeys, count the references to ketchup as vegetables in school lunches this week.

Since he has been absent from the stage for so long, the fuss over the tone of the memorials seems inappropriate, like an aftershock six months after the earthquake.

For me, of course, it's a measure of the man. He stood for things. There were lines he wouldn't cross or let others cross. Of course he pissed people off. I remember an old duffer from my childhood in Tarentum, PA. Big guy. He wore suspenders and was missing a thumb. He sat on his porch all day. I don't remember his name. I do remember the older kids would sometimes amuse themselves by getting into a conversation with him and somehow working in the notion that FDR was a great man. This nice old guy would turn into an Orc, a shaking, red-faced, rictal, sputtering, vein-popping, twitchy golum. Then you might not see him on his porch for a few days. I don't remember it, but I wouldn't be the least surprised if one of these sessions finished him.

Given the generally benign news coverage this week, there may be a few finished off if Friday doesn't get here soon.
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