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Legend of the Personality

June 6th, 2004

I won’t comment much on the passing of Ronald Reagan, except to say that I feel less strongly about his passing than I do about the strong survival of his political legacy and the effect it has had on the nation. When I look in on conservative forums and see them speaking in absolute seriousness about putting Reagan’s face on Mount Rushmore and other such superlative forms of memorialization, I cannot help but note the cult of the personality that has surrounded the former president.

Reagan all but invented the modern Republican party–more about politics, image, and above all else, winning, rather than on responsible governance. Not that these elements did not exist before, but Reagan made them the core of the party, he brought them alive. And it pains me to see people all but deifying this man, however sweet, dedicated, loyal and personable he may have been as an individual, who nonetheless started a political revolution that has torn so much of what we value in this country to shreds, whilst always maintaining that it was in the name of those same principles that were, and are, being steadily dismantled and destroyed.

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