What else can we rename after Ron?Steve Hammer
With all of the world's other problems apparently solved, some of our nation's lawmakers are taking up the issue on how best to memorialize former President Ronald Reagan. If we're going to rename things after Reagan, let's start with the simple nightstick. From now on, they should be called "Reagan sticks."
There's been discussions about putting his face on the dime, of building a gigantic monument in Washington or even somehow chiseling his face onto the side of Mount Rushmore. Even before Reagan died, National Airport in D.C. was renamed after him.
Numerous streets and highways have been named after Reagan and, as long as we have Republicans running all three branches of government as well as the media, soon everything will be named after Reagan.
The latest movements are behind putting Reagan's face on the $10 bill and for making his birthday, Feb. 6, a national holiday. The Web site keeping track of all this, the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, currently lists 74 dedications to Reagan, including four new stretches of highway in Texas.
Let's put things in perspective a bit. Even by the most generous of standards, Ronald Reagan was not a great president. He began the process of reverse socialism, taking from the poor and giving to the rich by means of tax cuts and incentives for the rich.
I suppose that counts for something.
He also reversed the post-Watergate trend of more accountability and less secrecy in government, something which is paying rich dividends to the current occupant of the White House.
He built up the military to the point where our nation is eternally caught up in conflicts around the globe. Whereas previous presidents tried to fight a war on poverty, Reagan fought and won a war for more wars.
If we're going to rename things after Reagan, I can think of a few better ideas than are currently out there.
Let's start with the simple nightstick. It's used by riot police everywhere and made famous in the Rodney King videotape. Like Reagan, the message it delivers is straightforward and unmistakable.
From now on, they should be called "Reagan sticks." As in, "The police had to use Reagan sticks to subdue the suspect." Or "He got Reagan'd when he resisted arrest."
It seems like a perfect fit. When you think of Reagan, you think of people wielding weapons against other people. Make "Reagan stick" part of your vocabulary today. It symbolizes, in a way nothing else can, the relationship Reagan saw between the government and its people.
Another item which could very appropriately be renamed after Reagan is depleted uranium weapons. Depleted uranium, a substance which otherwise would pose a health hazard, is used in anti-tank and other military weapons. We've been using the hell out of them in Iraq and Afghanistan, in effect getting rid of our nuclear waste by using it to blast foreigners to their deaths.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, we currently have 704,000 tons of depleted uranium just sitting around in barrels, causing a potential risk to Americans. By making it into weapons, we send the radioactive material across the world and keep Americans safer.
The ingenuity of taking our problem and making it someone else's would certainly be appreciated by President Reagan.
Depleted uranium weapons should henceforth be known as "Reagan bombs." They explode in an instant but their effect is felt for millions of years. What better way to memorialize our warrior president?
President Reagan was keenly interested in economics. He was elected on a policy of fiscal conservatism and smaller government. After assuming office, he racked up the largest deficits in American history and tripled the national debt.
He armed Iran, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and traded weapons for hostages. After promising to never negotiate with terrorists, he did just that.
So when you say one thing and then do the exact opposite, it should be referred to as "pulling a Reagan."
Meanwhile, the proposed Martin Luther King monument, approved by Congress in the 1990s, has secured only one-third of the private funding it needs for its planned 2008 construction.
And while we've renamed urban streets after King - you've never seen a Martin Luther King Street in a prosperous area of town, have you? - those of us who profess to follow Dr. King haven't done nearly as much to keep his principles alive as have Reagan's disciples.
Nonviolence is dead as a policy of civil disobedience. Our world is even more corrupt than it was when King was murdered in 1968. While some advances have been made in race relations, the subject has disappeared from public debate.
Segregation is just as prevalent today as it was in King's time; it's just taken on new forms and goes under different names.
A few of his aides are still around, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Congressman John Lewis, who are battle-scarred veterans of the great civil war of the 1960s. But the conservative media tries to discredit them at every turn.
If you had to say whose cause has prevailed, unfortunately, you'd have to say Reagan was more effective than King, at least in the short term. The suffering and pain Reagan caused is still around today, while Dr. King's ideas get only lip service from our leaders.
Reagan won. King lost. To the victor go the spoils. So let's keep renaming things after President Reagan. Let's just make sure they're the right things.