Saturday, July 2, 2005

How Ronald Reagan and Joe Mcintyre were both victims of bad voting July 2nd

The Discovery Channel recently unveiled their audience's pick as The Greatest American of all time - Ronald Reagan.

Now I know it's just an overhyped publicity stunt by a cable channel, with all the moral authority of the blasphemous Dancing with the Stars voting that cast aside Joe Mcintyre.

(may that British judge rot in Hades!)

But still, Ronald Reagan? I'm sorry, there's no way The Gipper should have won the honor.

And remember, that's coming from a devoted Republican. I can't remember the last time I crossed party lines.

[That's an exaggeration - for example, in local elections I have no choice but to vote Democratic, and I may have once voted in a Socialist for class President. But in my defense, she was darn cute and loved animals]

[personal confession: I grew up in a solidly Democratic family during the Reagan era. Thus, there's a smidgeon of my being that still registers Reagan as 'the enemy', but I try not to listen: it's the part of my mind that said the same of dentists, and look where that got me.]

If you have to pick a politician for the title, why not one of the Founding Fathers? Not only did they accomplish the impossible by building a working democracy, a few still retain brand-name status, like Washington and Jefferson.

If the issue of slavery clouds their resume for you, how about Discovery Channel runner-up Abe Lincoln?

Not only did he preside over the end of slavery, the master orator held the nation together through a devastating, unpopular, and initially unsuccessful war.

If it was up to me, I'd skip the residents of D.C. altogether. I wouldn't have shed a tear if Thomas Edison had got the nod, or the Wright Brothers. They changed the economic, social, and industrial course of this nation - of the world, for that matter.

Or, if you really want to be obscure, how about that nameless Confederate that dropped Lee's battle plans at the battle of Antietam? His butter-fingers allowed the Union to blunt Lee's advance, saving the day and eventually, America itself.

'Course, I suppose the title implies a certain love of country, so scratch that idea.

I guess I shouldn't complain. All in all the top twenty-five vote getters reflect a pretty accurate view of American life.

Most of the folks I mentioned made the cut. So did at least two immigrants, Einstein and Bob Hope, and business innovators like Bill Gates and Walt Disney.

Some clearly deserve to be that close to the top - Martin Luther King, for example. I can also see why entertainers like Elvis and Oprah deserve to be mentioned; I might not agree, but I can see why they're there.

Others, not so much.

Lance Armstrong? Uh, no.

Hey, I'm a big fan of Dubya but I think it's a teensy bit early to put him in the top 10. As for Clinton, tell the truth: even if you're a fawning devotee of the man, you have to admit that his Presidency - through no fault of his own - was devoid of any truly historical events.

After all, FDR without the Depression is just a no-name President with a nifty monogram.

In the end what may have pushed Reagan over the top were the nostalgic memorials that flooded American airwaves after his death.

A great man and a good president? Yes. The Greatest American ever? No.

Call me hokey, but I like to think that the person who deserves that title hasn't even been born yet.

That way America's best is yet to come. 

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