Posted by: Catherine Lugg | February 6, 2011

On Reagan’s 100th Birthday

Today, 100 years ago, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born. Life guard, movie actor, GE pitchman, California Governor and US President, Reagan left an indelible mark on the US body politic.

But for many Americans, that mark was and remains a scar. He was utterly hostile towards the aspirations of African Americans, and his presidential administration gave space and honor to outright racists. Similarly, he was hostile towards expanded civil rights protections for women, a measure of dignity for the poor, and a living wage for working people.

And then there are “the gays.” For us, Reagan was simply a horror. Homophobia was given free reign while AIDS galloped across the nation. Reagan’s reign was marked by dramatic cuts to the public health infrastructure, particularly at CDC and FDA. Since AIDS struck down gay men, first, then injection drug users who were largely heterosexual, hundreds of thousands of Americans were allowed to be stigmatized, derided, attacked, and left to die, many times horribly. We were not seen as real Americans, and so we were allowed to die, unrecognized by our own government.

So while the media is having an orgy of Reagan nostalgia and mythology, I’m remembering a far different Reagan, a man who literally didn’t give a damn about me or most of my friends.  Reagan was perfectly content to let us die…and oh god, so many did. Unlike what is being served up in 2011, the Reagan era was an EVIL era, when a US president was perfectly content to let Americans die by the hundreds of thousands.

Below is a clip that hammers this point home. Please watch and remember.


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