We always knew this day would come. Ronnie has left the building, and the media has unleashed the all too predictable avalanche of whitewashing of one of the worst leaders in American history, albeit one of the most unbelievably charismatic and personally likable, that borders on deification. I truly believe it is an ambition of many to make him a god. How would that square with the diehard evangelical Christianity he and most of his most dedicated followers espoused? Simple, he will be made part of the Trinity. Let's face it, folks, the Holy Spirit has not been pulling its appropriate amount of weight over the centuries. In a thousand years it's going to be the Father, the Son, and the Holy Cowboy.
Like me, he was an actor and a writer, and I think he accomplished some really amazing things in those disciplines. He made millions of people truly believe in the worlds he created. And that shows an artistic mastery I could spend the rest of my life aspiring to. And if you think I'm being sarcastic, well I'm not. It's a sincere compliment.
He's been gone from the public eye so many years, it's odd that he's really gone only now. It's like the death of a ghost. He was the President of my childhood. He was reviled by most of the adults I grew up with, working class Chicagoans, (in 1984, when I was six years old, Walter Mondale carried only his home state, with 13 electoral votes, when I heard on the news that Mondale had only won 13 votes, I thought "Wow, I know most of the people who voted for him") but I always had a lot of affection for him.
Not for his war against non-rich people, his race baiting and religious fanaticism, his horrific expansion of the military industrial complex, his support for genocide in Central America, his willful disdain of AIDS victims, his tacit support for Middle Eastern terrorists and tyrants, or...well you know, all that stuff.
I liked him for his warmth and his humor and the fact that he genuinely seemed to believe that the preceeding insanities were the right thing to do. He was a great grandfather figure. And...well, I'm very sorry that he suffered so much in his final years. I hope he's found peace. And wisdom.