Monday, June 21, 2004

I don't give a damn about my bad reputation

Being a history major, I sometimes get depressed by the thought that nothing ever really changes. Yes, technology improves, but the same scenarios play out again and again and again and no one seems to notice or particularly care. While looking through microfilm archives at the library for something completely unrelated (which may or may not be ever finished enough to present here), I found this. From the October 25, 1958 Ottawa Citizen: Look familiar at all? Democrats unwilling to respond to valid criticisms of their party policy, unwilling to take major threats of the day seriously, paint a Republican president and veep as scaremongers, personally responsible for unemployment and unethical behaviour of underlings. Photoshop in the heads of Eisenhower and Nixon for Bush and Cheney, and it could run in today's Washington Post without anyone batting an eye. Yet it's this fact in particular that gives me the most hope. Nowadays, you'd be hard-pressed to find real demonization of Eisenhower. There was just a TV movie biopic lionizing his planning of the Normandy invasions shown just in time for the D-Day anniversary, for crying out loud. (It was pretty good, too. Who'd have known Tom Selleck had that kind of range?) Democrats even recently conjured up his pet phrase "The Buck Stops Here" to claim Bush's personal culpability for Abu Ghraib. While no Roosevelt or FDR, he's now certainly seen as competent and more than a bit heroic, if indeed somewhat bland. History exonerated him, no matter how nasty his enemies' rhetoric was at the time. Ditto Reagan's achievements in the office, as we've just seen. I have faith the same will happen for the eventual textbook view of the Bush administration, fifty years from now. I have to, otherwise the nattering nabobs would be getting me really down.

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