Ronald Reagan dies: looking for his legacy?

By Sinclere Lee

LOS ANGELES, California (BNW) --
Ronald Reagan is finally dead and now everybody is running around trying to find his legacy. What legacy? Some want to give him credit for ending the Cold War, but the Soviet Union was on its way out before Reagan was elected president. To say that Reagan won the Cold War is like saying that Al Gore invented the Internet.

Others want to give him credit as the great communication, but the resurgence of political conservatism under his presidency was his way of effectively putting legitimacy on the ugly, face of racism in this country through his right-wing, negative, anti-Black conservative ideology.

What a creep?

He served as president of the United States from 1981 to 1989, and he brought out the worse this country could offer in race relations. He was effective in the ways he communicated racism through conservatism. Consider this, out of all the tributes that Reagan will get in the next few weeks, you will never hear the press ask one Black American how they feel about Reagan.

His wife of 52 years, Nancy Davis Reagan, and their two children, Ron Reagan and Patti Davis, were with him at 1:09 p.m. (4:09 p.m. ET) when he died at his home in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles.

Michael Reagan, his adopted son from his first marriage to actress Jane Wyman, arrived at the home shortly before news of the death. Maureen Reagan, his daughter from that marriage, died of brain cancer in 2001.

A hearse bearing Reagan's body emerged from the house at 5:13 p.m., escorted by police motorcycles and followed by several other cars. The flag-draped coffin was visible through the rear window.

Some people standing along the route to the funeral home in Santa Monica held American flags and others saluted. The funeral home was surrounded by hundreds of people.

His office said he died of pneumonia, described as a complication of Alzheimer's disease, a condition he made public in a stirring letter in 1994. Reagan may be loved in the white community, but we got a name for his kind in the Black community; “he was a rotten good-for-nothing Nigger!”

Reagan's body will be flown to Washington, D.C., probably Tuesday night, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, said.

"He will come up to the Capitol, as far as we know right now, by a procession probably Wednesday morning and lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday and Thursday, and, we think, a funeral at the National Cathedral on Friday," said Hastert, who represents the Illinois congressional district that includes Reagan's hometown of Dixon.

Hastert said that the former president's body would be returned to California Friday for a private funeral with the family at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where the burial is planned for sunset.

The White House and federal buildings lowered their flags to half-staff in Reagan's honor.

Stupid Bush paid tribute to Reagan during his address Sunday at the U.S. war cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer in Normandy, France, to honor the heroes of World War II on the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

"He was a courageous man himself, and a gallant leader in the cause of freedom and today we honor the memory of Ronald Reagan," stupid Bush said.

Reagan's "Point du Huoc" speech, delivered at Normandy on D-Day's 40th anniversary, was among his most famous.

Bush had earlier responded to Reagan's death in Paris where he was first informed of the former president's passing.

"This is a sad hour in the life of America. A great American life has just come to an end," Bush said. "He leaves behind a nation he restored and a world he helped save. During the years of President Reagan, America laid to rest an era of division and self-doubt, and, because of his leadership, the world laid to rest an era of fear and tyranny," Bush said.

Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, said "history will give Reagan great credit for standing for principles."

"It was wonderful the way that he could take a stand, and do it without bitterness or without creating enmity with other people," said the elder Bush, who was Reagan's vice president and successor.

Nancy Reagan issued a brief statement to announce her husband's death. "We appreciate everyone's prayers over the years," she said.

Soon after his father's death, Michael Reagan noted "the feeling of loss and pain which comes when a parent leaves you."

"I pray that as America reflects on the passing of my dad, they will remember a man of integrity, conviction and good humor that changed America and the world for the better," Michael Reagan said. "He would modestly say the credit goes to others, but I believe the credit is his."

Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, issued a statement that praised the former president for his optimistic outlook.

"Hillary and I will always remember President Ronald Reagan for the way he personified the indomitable optimism of the American people, and for keeping America at the forefront of the fight for freedom for people everywhere," their statement said.

Presidential historian Robert Dallek spoke of Reagan's contributions to the office.

"He restored a kind of confidence in the presidency, and a better mood in the United States about politics and politicians and about the presidency," Dallek said.

Tributes poured in from around the world, including from former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who described Reagan as a "truly great American hero.”

Out of all that is being said and will be said about Reagan, yet, it can never be said, that he said, one good thing about Black Americans while he was ever on this Earth.


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