I’m finally convinced that the founding fathers were wrong. We never should have dropped the monarchy. It’s obvious that the people of today are desperate for a king and, lacking one, will treat any well-loved leader as such. Ronald Reagan’s passing and subsequent funeral extravaganza is proof positive of this hidden desire.
Unless you’ve been trapped under something heavy the past week, you should recognize what I’m talking about. On Saturday, June 5th, former actor-turned-president, Ronald Reagan, died at his home after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Given his service to his country as a former president, it is only right that his death should be a news story. He was a public figure, so some form of public ceremony was to be expected. I’d hoped for something dignified and restrained.
Instead, we get a weeklong cavalcade of funereal processions, overwrought reporters interviewing equally overwrought people-in-the-street and every media representative deifying the man. This exercise in funereal excess traveled the country over the course of the week, the flag-draped coffin being solemnly dragged from one stop to the next where tens of thousands of devoted subjects could come and bend the knee for their dearly departed. I may be confused, but it seems to me that this is how a dead King is venerated, not how a former “regular guy” president should be treated.
Sure, the man was popular: he was an actor for many years and a radio announcer before that, it was his job to be popular. Yes, he came across as a genial, honest, all-American man, but he was just a man, like any other man. Yes, he was our president at one time but that does not make him royalty nor does it justify this enormous procession.
Some of you are going to say that I’m taking shots at the dead, that I have no class. Maybe. All I know is that Reagan was our president, not our king so we shouldn’t treat him as such. If he were as all-American as he is portrayed, he wouldn’t want that kind of treatment anyway. When did we decide that a Kennedy or a Reagan is so much better than the rest of us that we feel it necessary to parade their corpses about the country so that as many people as possible can come to terms with their grief? How many people truly knew these men? What kind of grief can anyone really feel for someone they knew only in sound bites and occasional speeches? These are not men to be deified.
Despite what the media is representing (this is a liberal media, Rush?), Reagan was not all cookies and cream. Every moron in the House has been coming out in tears talking about what a great president Reagan was. Oh really? What about that time he quadrupled the national debt (anyone else find it ironic that they want to put this man’s face on money, given his record with debt)? What about that little Iran-Contra deal with the lying and the stealing? How about his trickle-down economics that stuck a giant fist into the ass of working class families and made the richest 1% oh-so-much richer? Grenada? Star Wars and SDI? Tax increases and governmental size increases? All these abuses and controversies appear to have been forgotten. The only comments one hears about Reagan nowadays seem to revolve around him single-handedly ending the cold war and introducing reform to the former Soviet Union. The USSR didn’t fail because of Reagan; it failed because communism only works on paper and because of the quiet economic war that had been going on for years, well before Regan got into office.
The point is that Reagan was a fallible man and a fallible president. He may have been the nicest guy in the world, but he was definitely not the “best president ever”. Neither was he royalty. People in this country have their priorities so out of whack, it’s amazing that we remember to open doors before trying to walk through them. We worship celebrity and status as though they were somehow indicators of a person’s worth. We raise popular politicians to the level of royalty and allow them the leeway to do anything with our country that they choose. Then, when these celebrities and power mongers pass away, we wipe out all the remaining vestiges of humanity and finally raise them up to god-like status.
We need to remember that we, the regular citizens, are the true power behind this great country, and no single man can, or should, be allowed to dictate our course for us. We need to remember politicians are merely the men and women we elect to best represent our interests. We seem to have forgotten this simple fact, instead believing that a president like Reagan is somehow above and beyond the common man. A President merely presides over the government that was designed to protect this country and the citizens thereof; he is not an all-powerful leader, nor a dictator, nor a king. He is merely, and ideally, a man of the people chosen by the people to represent our interests for a set number of years.
We would have done Reagan a greater honor by simply allowing his family to have a private ceremony and allowing the public to give their respects at his final resting place at his presidential library when all was said and done. This kind of quiet dignity befits a man of the people much better than some overdone, weeklong series of scheduled media events. We certainly didn’t need President Bush to declare a national day of mourning and give all state and federal employees a day off. I know plenty of state workers: they do little enough work as it is, so they hardly need another day off.
I could be wrong. As I stated earlier, perhaps people really do want, or even need, a king. Perhaps the stress of freedom has finally proven too much and this outpouring of grief at the passing of a former president is merely final proof that we all need to be ruled because we can’t govern ourselves. Maybe my worst suspicions are correct: maybe the general populace really is that stupid. If that’s the case, then just accept the fact that God came to me in a vision and told me that me and my line were destined to become great kings of men, and my kingdom would be these United States. Get off your asses and build me a throne. And when I die, I don’t want this weak-ass flag-draped coffin crap, I want virgin sacrifices and ritual self-flagellation from my adoring subjects.