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Reagan's State of Union Message

February 10, 1986

President Reagan's State of the Union message should be subtitled, "The Lullaby of Washington." As I watched and listened to the pleasing platitudes, the shameless piety, the comforting cliches and the homespun sentimentality, I almost forgot that this pleasant and well-liked man is the wielder of the broadsword that seeks to wreak havoc upon the poor and homeless, to further cripple the sick, to emasculate our educational programs, and to finally reduce our democratic form of government to a sort of alien super corporate state.

The speech was quintessential Reagan, long on rhetoric, short on substance. It was a piece of twisted and convoluted logic. For example: He praises the family as "the moral core of our society" and then proposes in his budget to do away with the very programs that would preserve and save the family unit.

Reagan is concerned about the "horse and buggy programs that waste tax dollars and squander human potential," however he fails to mention which programs he refers to. We are held in suspense until the following day when he submits his budget and we discover that he wants to wipe out the Small Business Administration, the Interstate Commerce Commission, legal services for the needy, Amtrak (horse and buggy?), and to sell off some of our most valuable national assets. These, and similar programs, have endured the test of time and have withstood the ravages of former Republican administrations.

As expected, we were reminded that the military budget was untouchable, which includes Reagan's goofy "Star Wars" thing. No reduction here. Indeed, he calls for a 12% increase in Pentagon spending while children go hungry and homeless in our decaying cities.

We again heard about the so-called "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia and Nicaragua, but the President was, as usual, silent when it came to those countries ruled by right-wing dictatorships such as South Africa, Chile, and the Philippines. He is very selective when it comes to declaring where freedom rings.

Lastly, I sometimes wonder if Reagan is a closet Democrat (I hope not!) All during the 1984 campaign he praised former Democratic heroes and the other night he was at it again: Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Henry (Scoop) Jackson were all adulated in his short speech. I am still waiting for him to invoke the honored names of Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon.



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