Thursday, November 10, 2011

Writing History -- Reagan

Immediately after Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the movers and shakers started trying to make Ronald Reagan a historical figure -- in a good way. Unfortunately for them, the truth always comes out. It may take a while. It may take a long while. But it always comes out.

Listening to Rachel Maddow this morning, I learned that the CIA had made videos to brief President Reagan. I, of course, wanted to know more.

The first video is to educate you on how The Great Communicator -- aka Ronald Reagan -- was briefed about national security and foreign affairs. (Sorry about the commercials but it’s CNN. What can you do?)

This video is fromYouTube and was one of the actual videos used to brief President Reagan. First, you can judge for yourself the level of sophistication (or lack thereof) used to reach the target audience. Second, if you have the time to watch all of it, you might wind up asking yourself why we decided to stay there after toppling the Taliban. No one has substantially changed Afghanistan in over 2,000 years. We won’t either.

If you’re young and wondering -- yes, the films do have a 1950’s propaganda feel to them. There was a brief shot of William Casey -- then Director of the CIA -- in the CNN story. If you don’t know about William Casey, you might want to learn a little about him. Some think Ronald Reagan wasn’t a very worldly, sophisticated man. Nobody thinks that about William Casey.

I can’t help but wonder if there is a PATCO video somewhere in the White House archives. I don’t suppose the CIA would be involved in that briefing, so probably not. Pity.

The more you learn about Reagan, the more he pales in comparison to a truly historical figure like George Washington. I know some might think this a small thing, but small things matter. Washington National Airport was renamed to honor Ronald Reagan. A few people saw the wisdom in keeping “Washington” in the name. I suggest it should be the name air traffic controllers continue to use to identify the airport -- “Washington National”. History has found George Washington worthy of memorializing. The jury is still out on Ronald Reagan.

Don Brown
November 10, 2011

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