Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oh, Reagan

I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday! I feel like I’ve been in New York for so long! Today Beulah and I woke up early to hit the gym. We were pleasantly surprised because Columbia has a really nice facility. 

We had yet another library orientation at Butler library and we worked on our research papers. I read a lot today about Reagan and Grenada. It’s so interesting that Reagan had a list of justifications for invading the country but they didn’t have much evidence of being true. I’m really excited to discover more about Reagan and his use of speech to convince and persuade America.

Tonight I’m attending the campus-wide scavenger hunt. Hopefully it’ll be really fun! Then later I think our suite is watching The Hangover together. Have a good night everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Michelle,

    In your research, you need to look at the timing of this invasion and the political benefits to Reagan.

    The timing of this invasion was always suspect. Two days prior to the invasion the Marine barracks in Beirut was bombed with a loss of 299 servicemen. Many people felt that we were lax in our security measures and this terrorist act could have been prevented.

    Two days later the US invades Granada and quickly conquers the forces that had overthrown the legitimate government 12 days earlier (and their Cuban supporters).

    The talk around the country was that this was a diversionary move aimed at taking the American people's minds off of the terrorist act against the US and the possible failure of our government to prevent it by showing the power of the US forces by restoring freedom and democracy to a struggling nation.

    [I always found it strange that more than 19,000 medals were awarded for this exercise even though there were only about 7,300 troops involved with the actual invasion.]

    Reagan was known as The Great Communicator (a title given to him by his own supporters). He had some great public relations people helping him to craft his message and, having spent his life as an actor, he could craft his message so the people would ignore what was really being said and why it was being said because they were so enamored by the way it was being said.

    Reagan was President more than a quarter of a century ago and he's still highly controversial. When a right wing politician wants to ingratiate his followers he simply invokes Reagan and his followers go rabid in their devotion to him. At almost every Republican National Convention the candidates will claim to be Ronald Reagan Republicans.

    On the other side of the coin, many liberals still despise Reagan and everything he stood for.

    Their are frequent efforts to honor Reagan. There are major airports and freeways named after him, a $4.5 billion dollar aircraft carrier and numerous parks. Efforts were made a few years ago (and still pop up from time to time) to replace the visage of Roosevelt on the dime with that of Reagan's. Even here in California there is a measure in Assembly Committee right now to create a state holiday honoring Reagan.

    My own beliefs about honoring someone is that there should be an overwhelming groundswell of support for the person being honored or it becomes too much of a divisive issue. I think that at this time there is still too much animosity surrounding Ronald Reagan from his time as Governor of California and from his time as President. Too many sores that haven't healed. Perhaps time will smooth things out but that time may not have come.

    Along that line, we've often seen how history has been written so future generations get the wrong impression of a person or an incident. If the readers didn't have first hand knowledge about that person or event they might be inclined to believe what they're reading instead of delving in deeper to learn more.

    Richard Nixon certainly had his troubles but after he resigned in disgrace he spent the rest of his life trying to rehabilitate history to make himself appear to be something he wasn't. What will future generations believe about him?