If Reagan was Racist—What Then?
The headline in the Atlantic read: “Ronald Reagan’s Long-Hidden Racist Conversation With Richard Nixon.” The story told how the National Archives had released a tape of then-California Governor Reagan speaking to President Nixon on the phone in October 1971. Reagan had called the president after a vote in the United Nation had recognized the savage mass murderers of Communist China rather than the remnant of civilized China in Taiwan. To celebrate the vote, the delegates from Tanzania had danced—possibly barefoot, I’m not sure.
Reagan was well and truly annoyed that the U.N. — a “kangaroo court” filled with “bums” as he called it with a precision and accuracy admirable in a mere politician — had given the Communists this sort of legitimacy.
“Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” he said. “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries — damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Nixon laughed and called the vote, “the tail wagging the dog.”
Now to be honest, such revelations have never bothered me much. Private conversations are private. Anger is anger. We all say nasty stuff when we’re P.O.’d and we all tailor it to the people we’re angry at. One of the very few times anyone ever hurled a racial slur at me was after a teenaged fist fight when I had gotten the upper hand. I didn’t take it personally. If the positions had been reversed, I’d have probably said the same — or something anyway.
But let’s for a moment adopt the lunatic puritanism of our present age. Let’s, for a moment, assume that this off-hand remark was proof of some larger philosophical racism on Reagan’s part. What then?
In terms of accomplishment, Ronald Reagan was one of the greatest presidents this country has ever produced. The left has brought the considerable power of its media dominance and myth-making dishonesty to bear to erase this fact from the history books, but the fact remains. Reagan pulled the economy out of a hellish graveyard spin and set it on course for a quarter century of unparalleled prosperity. Single women and African Americans benefitted most from the turnaround.
With the left decrying his foreign policy as war-mongering idiocy, he transformed his vision of the Cold War into reality: “We win; they lose.” In doing so, he toppled the Soviet slave state and gave hundreds of millions a chance to experience freedom. His eight-year tenure in office was so successful it bound even his Democrat opponents to its small government principles. Only when the insane financial jiggery-pokery of fools like Barney Frank finally managed to crash the economy did we allow leftist Barack Obama to Make America Crap Again.
So if Reagan was a racist — or more of a racist than others in his time — what then? Should we put Eastern Europe back under the Soviet heel? Should we strip the created wealth of 25 years from the American economy? Does a moment of off-hand ugliness lessen the greatness of his administration or the rightness of his policies?
Of course not. It does not damage his legacy any more than recent revelations of shocking sexual malfeasance damage the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. That’s what a legacy is, after all: it’s what we leave behind when we and all our human flaws are gone.
The Atlantic article about the Reagan call tries to make a connection to Donald Trump. Leftists have worked and slaved over a hot propaganda machine to make everything Trump says sound as if it’s racist when it’s clearly not. They have disgraced themselves by cheapening this serious accusation for their purposes — as they have done with virtually every powerful Republican, including Rudy Giuliani, whose policies as New York City mayor saved thousands of black lives, and decent, unprejudiced men like George W. Bush and Mitt Romney.
Trump’s sound economic policies have helped Americans of all colors, as would his immigration policies, if the Democrats would stop obstructing them. So even if — and this is a big if — Trump has said something racially untoward, what then?
Should we then replace him with another leftist clown like Obama, who may use wiser words but deliver far more foolish and destructive policies?