Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Past That's Worth Remembering

by Rich Miles

Dec. 23, 2004

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

Remember that quote? I promise not to use it for every column I write, but it just seems to work for so many occasions. So here’s the scoop:

I have a rather extensive collection in book form of Doonesbury cartoons. They go all the way back to 1971, and in rare moments of leisure, I like to read them over again from time to time, just to see what was going on back then. Recently, I found a collection entitled “Doonesbury Dossier: The Reagan Years”, and since I had previously (before 2001) held the belief that Ronald Reagan was, by and large, the worst thing that had ever happened to this country, I thought it might be instructive to take a look at what Garry Trudeau thought of him when Reagan was a current issue. Trudeau is not what one would call an exhaustive source of historical accuracy, but he does have a gift for catching the gist of history in those four daily panels.

So anyway, guess what I found out? I discovered that the same sorts of things that George W. Bush is doing today, which is to say rolling back decades of social progress, plunging the nation into staggering levels of debt that will last for years if not decades, and an almost breathtaking ability to simply ignore reality and the will of the American people, were all hallmarks of that previous administration as well. In other words, we don’t remember history as recently as 20 or so years ago, and so we’re bloody well repeating it.

Now, if your reaction to the above was a resounding “Well, duh!”, then I am sorry to report that you have just wasted a minute or so reading material that was not intended for you. No, the people I am speaking to in the above paragraphs are those unrepentant and unbendable right-wing partisans who, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that their president is either a criminal or a nitwit or both, will still say that W is “a great man, a real American, our only hope for the future”, and blah blah blah. What does it take for you to see it? Does he, as Trudeau once posited about Nixon, have to knock over a bank before we will acknowledge that he and his minions are inexorably dismantling our country with the left hand, while the right hand waves a flag and the mouth says “terrorist threat” one more stinkin’ time?

I’m about to run out of words for this column, so let me give you the “button line” for next time: As I already copped to last week, I am indeed a liberal Democrat. If W were a fairly decent Republican president (an oxymoron to my way of thinking), I still probably wouldn’t like him, but I wouldn’t be this rabid about him. The genuine hideousness of this administration goes beyond partisan politics – and the whole point of this blog, for me, is to keep illustrating why.

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