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Tuesday, December 09, 2003

A Dime's Worth Of Difference

I still consider Rep. James McGovern (D-Massachusetts) my Representative in Congress. It seems like he always does me proud.

He's now the leading voice in Congress standing up to the Reagan hagiography crowd, who now want to memorialize the still-living former President on the dime.

They can't even wait until his heart stops bleeding to give him the sort of treatment that might even make Stalin or Mao blush.

They won't stop until everything they can find is named for Ronald Reagan. The freeway in California, the aircraft carrier, the huge office building at 14th and Pennsylvania...fine with me. (Especially considering how perfect a metaphor for the Reagan presidency the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center is, being ostentatious, bloated, and way over budget, a massive waste of taxpayer money.)

For me a line in the sand was crossed with the airport renaming. It was unnecessary and foolish.

Now they want memorials. In every state. And who knows what else? Before long I might have to move to Maryland or Virginia just so I don't have to live in a city called "Reagan."

While this whole thing is ultimately somewhat trivial - probably not even in the top 100 reasons why the current right-wing crowd has to be stopped - it's just one more item on the list.

Otherwise, when I'm old and grey, I'll have to explain to young whippersnappers why so many things are named for one of our worst presidents. And that will get really tiresome and make me cranky before my time.

And that's not even the worst part of all this. It's not so much that Reagan doesn't deserve to be memorialized in some fashion as it is that the hagiographers are opening a Pandora's Box with regards to bitter partisan fights over namings and historical memorials. These things have never been the subject of partisan struggle before - is there anything to stop Democrats from "purging" Reagan's name from, say, National Airport if/when they get the power/votes to do so? Not anymore.


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