Jun 11, 2004

In Memoriam... Ronald Reagan

I know that I've been putting up links/random BS lately - but it's all in the interest of posting more regularly (I heard, and it stuck to me like most random things do for future use in my bag of parlor tricks, if you do something 29 times in a row, it becomes a habit). Also, knowing that all of 3 people KNOW about this endeavor, I can putz around a bit before I get my blog on, as it were.

So - I'm not going to overdo it on the news of the moment - Prez Reagan's recent passing at the age of 93, because I think that there are a lot of other things going on, the passing of Ray Charles yesterday not being the least of these. At the end of the day, Alzheimer's is a terrible disease to be afflicted with, and the toll that it takes on your family and loved ones is far more than I'd want to wish upon anyone. However, I do think that it's important for us to have a quick list of things to remember about his presidency.

But on the question of his presidency, the following is excerpted from an Organization of Chinese Americans statement c. 6/11/04:

Two of President Reagan's most notable achievements for Asian Americans were signing the Amerasian Immigration Act of 1982, and the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

The Amerasian Immigration Act is also known as the Amerasian Homecoming Act of 1982 and sought to admit children born in five Asian countries between 1962 and 1976 to Vietnamese mothers and American fathers, together with their immediate relatives to the United States. The 1982 act offered permanent residency to Amerasians coming from South Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. This law stopped short of bestowing full U.S. citizenship. Full U.S. citizenship for Vietnamese Amerasians born between 1962 and 1976 and their families was later added in an amendment to the act in 1988.

The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was the culmination of studies conducted by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians created by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. Under Reagan's watch in 1983, the Commission concluded that the World War II incarceration of Japanese-Americans had not been justified by military necessity. Reagan famously called the Japanese American internment "a grave injustice." President Reagan signed the bill providing $1.25 billion in reparations and a formal apology from the government for the forcible relocation of 120,000 Japanese-Americans. The U.S. government authorized the payment of $20,000 to each of the estimated 60,000 surviving former internees.

That's a nice statement - two semi-long paragraphs encompassing the total advancement of the Asian Pacific American community during this heralded presidency of 8 years. Lest we forget, the 80s saw the death of much of the movement activism of the previous decade, as well as the new anti-Asian sentiment embodied by the hatred that killed Vincent Chin in 1982.

But back to the point - there's an important side to remember when thinking about all of the commentary about Reagan the Great Communicator, Reagan the Optimist, etc. etc. I like this list format below more than a long, arduous rant... maybe it'll make more folks do some research (use the Google tips that I posted in the past!).

66 Things to Think About When Flying Into Reagan National Airport
by David Corn

The firing of the air traffic controllers, winnable nuclear war, recallable nuclear missiles, trees that cause pollution, Elliott Abrams lying to Congress, ketchup as a vegetable, colluding with Guatemalan thugs, pardons for F.B.I. lawbreakers, voodoo economics, budget deficits, toasts to Ferdinand Marcos, public housing cutbacks, redbaiting the nuclear freeze movement, James Watt.

Getting cozy with Argentine fascist generals, tax credits for segregated schools, disinformation campaigns, "homeless by choice," Manuel Noriega, falling wages, the HUD scandal, air raids on Libya, "constructive engagement" with apartheid South Africa, United States Information Agency blacklists of liberal speakers, attacks on OSHA and workplace safety, the invasion of Grenada, assassination manuals, Nancy's astrologer.

Drug tests, lie detector tests, Fawn Hall, female appointees (8 percent), mining harbors, the S&L scandal, 239 dead U.S. troops in Beirut, Al Haig "in control," silence on AIDS, food-stamp reductions, Debategate, White House shredding, Jonas Savimbi, tax cuts for the rich, "mistakes were made."

Michael Deaver's conviction for influence peddling, Lyn Nofziger's conviction for influence peddling, Caspar Weinberger's five-count indictment, Ed Meese ("You don't have many suspects who are innocent of a crime"), Donald Regan (women don't "understand throw-weights"), education cuts, massacres in El Salvador.

"The bombing begins in five minutes," $640 Pentagon toilet seats, African- American judicial appointees (1.9 percent), Reader's Digest, C.I.A.-sponsored car-bombing in Lebanon (more than eighty civilians killed), 200 officials accused of wrongdoing, William Casey, Iran/contra.

"Facts are stupid things," three-by-five cards, the MX missile, Bitburg, S.D.I., Robert Bork, naps, Teflon.

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