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October 20, 2011

The Reaganator

Last time, we remembered when the early twentieth century was the future.

While Bill Cosby represented everything that was good, Arnold (Arnie) Schwarzenegger’s Terminator represented everything we felt was oppressive about 1984. 

At first, Arnie’s accent reminded us of recent wars and the current war, he was the brute force who threatened our freedom.

The role of the monster quickly became an unlikely hero, as the Austrian accent came to our “tough guy” ally against kidnappers, drones and terrorists.  Though his bodybuilding career climaxed in the 70’s, Arnie’s star really shot up in the 1984; and from his acting career “the Austrian Oak” followed Reagan’s career into politics.

Not only has Arnie been Governator of California, like the fortieth President, but he also hails from Central Europe, where Reagan is appreciated most.

Want to find a statue of Ronald Reagan?  You can see one in Poland or Hungary.  There he’s credited with winning the cold war, with standing by those behind the iron curtain and standing up to the Evil Soviet Empire.

Some, however, saw this stance as extreme.

“My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes,” Ann Coulter quotes Reagan as saying.

Some Reagan fans in American see him more as a John Wayne kind of cowboy than as the cowboy who co-stared with a chimp.  Look deep enough and you might wonder if they were listening to Reagan speak, or if they were watching Clint Eastwood’s rendition of Dirty Harry.

This goes for Ronald Reagan’s detractors as well.  A few called him stupid, but no one believed that.  His enemies saw him as some kind of unstable, sinister, secretive man.

These fears were realized in revelations of the Iran Contra Affair.  American hostages were “kidnapped by barbarians” before Reagan was elected.  Reagan put refusal to negotiate as part of his “tough guy” election campaign.  The hostages were released after the election, just when President “Jimmy” Carter’s term came to an end.

The hostage taking, and Carter’s failure to bring a quick resolution, helped end Carter’s presidency.

Some like to pretend the Reagan somehow changed things before even taking the oath of office.  Well, he couldn’t have done this legally.

A secret deal was struck, under the pretext of settling old debts.  America, called by the Ayatollah “the Great Satan”, was giving money to terrorist usurpers so that those terrorist usurpers would aid insurgents in South America.

Those insurgents, in return, would fight against the Evil (Soviet) Empire.

Although more complex than most conspiracy theories, the Iran Contra Affair is widely believed.

However, when questioned about the details of the affair, Reagan gave the classic political answer, “I do not recall.”

Now, Arnie (who has an IQ of over 130) played heroes with simple minds, who, like our image of Reagan, were suspicious of intellectuals.

In Arnie’s films, these intellectuals were sinister, aiming to take over the world.  He used the same kind of muscular power that Reagan was said to use in his foreign policy, by both Reagan’s fans and detractors.  However, there’s one important difference.

(Part 5, Do we Know The Truth…)