Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Teaching Our Children Well (or on Reagan)

Now that the mainstream media will hopefully be shutting the fuck up about Reagan I will comment on his passing. Let me be clear from jump, I am sadder about the loss of Ray Charles than I am about The Gipper’s death. I have no doubt however that Ronnie’s passing is a painful one for his family.

I have been talking about Reagan’s death and his life with many people I know over the last week (how could you fucking avoid it). Most of us were young and not political during Regan’s term in office. All of us expressed instant emotional confusion upon hearing of the 93 year old’s death. We are all used to going into automatic when someone dies. Death is sad and rarely are we like “good riddance!!” when someone is put into the ground. Why all the ambivalent feelings then. One mid 20’s Dominican male told me that he remembers being afraid of nuclear war during Reagan’s tenure.

At a South American style asado on Friday in Richmond Hill the MapucheRican and a fellow 6 year old schoolmate of hers snuggled up in front of the television and watched the California sunset funeral.
“Mami says he was a bad president like Bush is now, “the MapucheRican tells her friend.
I laugh aloud from the other side of the living room.
“No he wasn’t! He was a good man!” her friend replies defensively. “All presidents are good men.”
Her mother frowns at me and tells me in Spanish how she’s afraid her daughter will become a Republican.

The MapucheRican doesn’t know why Reagan was a bad president. One day I will have to teach her about Nicaragua, the invasion of Grenada, Panama, El Salvador, how ketchup will never be a vegetable (this will upset her), Guatemala, gutting of programs for the poor, the resulting growth in homelessness, the growth, ignoring of and misinformation on AIDS and HIV.

Later in the back yard as the adults drink beer, the MapucheRican’s friend snuggles on her father’s lap. Marc Anthony is playing in the background.
“So tell me why does Mala say that Reagan was a bad man and President, “she sleepily asks. The Colombian father briefly explains the cuts in services, the “interventions” in Latin America.
“I understand now, “the little girl replies.

I hope the rest of the world will too.


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