'How Many Drachma Do I Get for a Reagan?'
by Burton S. Blumert
by Burton S. Blumert
Please don't tell me this government doesn't know how to bury a President.
There are critics who contend that Reagan's eight-day, bi-coastal journey to the next world, never came close to the medieval pageantry practiced by our British brethren when they crown a King, for example.
For all their pomp, though, the Brits know it's pure "show biz." Simply Shakespearean theatre. Nobody's sacrificing their life for the new king, nor are they promoting a Crusade to smash the infidel. (Such assignments are reserved for George W's partner-in-crime, Tony Blair.)
The Reagan Event was more than a Hollywood epic: it was pure nationalism, elevating a B-grade movie actor into a mythological being, noble, kind, humorous, tough, principled and God-fearing, a giant worthy of supreme power. He could fight you "tooth and nail," but he was never mean-spirited.
He was — a god and everyman at the same time.
Hundreds of political hacks, all wearing $3,000 suits, trudged from one TV camera to another giving testament to the great man and telling their favorite "Dutch" anecdote.
I was getting groggy, but I think I heard the following. If so, it deserves the "Windbag Prize":
"Ron and myself were sitting alone talking about matters of state when Gorby entered the room and his fly was unzipped. We were on the brink of WWIII, but Ron said something so funny that Gorby nearly fell to the floor laughing, and the crisis passed."
The days droned on, and the incessant stream of testimonials never seemed to end. All the while, the main theme was jack-hammered home: Great men of power are ecumenical. They cut across party lines: Reagan. FDR. Lincoln.
Even die-hard California Democrats who still gag when they see Bonzo the chimp in late night movies, bought the package and now, like sleepwalkers, have come to terms with Reagan's surpassing greatness. Or at least they did for the eight days.
Things have quieted down. It's Sunday and the clean-up crews are sweeping up the confetti. My regular soap, pre-empted the entire week, returns on Monday. Thank the Lord.
It's as if we've been on holiday, and now we're back to life's banalities.
Back to those two bloody wars.
Back to watching Americans stumble through minefields, blindly following George W's leadership.
Back to politics as usual and the tedious presidential campaign.
Come to think of it, it wasn't really a holiday for the rest of us. This epic Reagan event was contrived to allow the state's present administration, its camp followers and the media (if there's a difference) to sort out the lies and deceit.
Ronald Reagan suffered two deaths, the first with the coming of his dementia. The second gave "Them" the opportunity to place him in the pantheon of state religion, and—
It provided the much-needed "breathing space" as indicated above.
But wait… while we were all teary-eyed and ecumenical, a seething power struggle was being fought out of camera range. The Reagan Loyalists, not satisfied with a federal airport carrying the great man's name, now required his imprint on the money.
The "Ronald Reagan Legacy Project" (there really is such a group) began its efforts years ago. In addition to a government Reagan memorial in every county in the United States, they favor a Reagan $10 bill, replacing Alexander Hamilton, who was not even a president, they argue.
Others, proud to compare Ronnie with FDR, feel he should supplant that great welfare-warfare president whose face has dominated the dime for almost six decades. Rumor has it that Nancy, outraged at the thought of "Ronnie's" likeness on small change, torpedoed the plan.
Mitch McConnell (R-KY), number two man in the federal senate, is pushing for the Reagan $10. Not to be outdone, "former libertarian," Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is doubling the ante by proposing a Reagan $20 bill.
Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL) is the Reagan 50-cent piece "point man." He wants to eliminate JFK's countenance from the half dollar and substitute Reagan's image
(There are still customers at my coin company, who, when buying US silver half dollars, insist that 1964 Kennedy halves be EXCLUDED from their order.)
I suspect that the $10 Reagan will prevail, with one of those prettified (or is that deified) portraits that now adorn the fiat dollar in the various denominations.
All of this reminds me of my father Max's strong views about retaining the "dollar" as the name of our currency. He felt it was a mistake.
For those who have not suffered amnesia of the monetary past, the US dollar once had terrific buying power, thanks to gold and silver and carried a worldwide prestige unlike the current buck.
Retaining the name of something that no longer exists leads to confusion. Other countries think nothing of knocking off zeros and renaming their currency.
"Let's call it a ‘Schmollar,'" Max used to say.
Well, here's my plan: Let's eliminate the word, "dollar," no longer defined as a weight of precious metal and, in its place, substitute "Reagan." This will silence the combatants vying for their favorite place for Reagan's face.
Ronnie will be on every denomination of coin and currency.
It won't take us long to get accustomed to hearing the following while people exchange currency or make change:
"How many drachma to the Reagan?"
"Can you give me two Reagan tens for a twenty?"
"I need three 25-cent Reagans for the meter. Can you break a Reagan buck?"
"I'll bet you a 5 Reagan that George W wins the election."
Who knows, the "Reagan" might circulate for eternity.
Fortunately, to quote a former, prescient French finance minister, "eternity in monetary affairs is of short duration."
June 14, 2004
Copyright © 2004 LewRockwell.com