An Appropriate Tribute

Apparently many Loudoun County residents are not swallowing the rosy picture of the Ronald Reagan era carefully produced by Supervisors Eugene A. Delgaudio (R-Sterling) and Lori L. Waters (R-Broad Run).

Some, myself included, have a distressingly clear memory of other, "less polite" aspects of the Reagan legacy, the Oliver North travesty a perfect example.

As President Reagan declared that "America will never make concessions to terrorists," North diverted profits from illegal arms sales to the designated terrorist state of Iran to aid the contras, violating prohibitions on U.S. support for the contra mission to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.

The contra war against Nicaragua devastated that country.

For its role in mining harbors in Nicaragua, the United States was convicted by the World Court of "unlawful use of force," which is the technical term for international terrorism. Was North sent to jail for this double illegal diversion? No, he ran for Senate and became a right-wing media hero.

The truth is that many Americans now feel that Reagan put our nation on the wrong road going in the wrong direction, and we are still paying the price. This "legacy" is not something that many citizens wish to honor, notwithstanding the political agenda of certain supervisors.

Although two-thirds of the public input regarding naming a public facility after Reagan has been negative, I think that Packie Crown's proposal for a senior respite facility is an appropriate, moving, respectful and nonpartisan tribute. This is certainly not out of delight at the suffering of the Reagan family, as has been suggested by some (less polite?) right-wing activists, a strange and ugly accusation. Especially because of Nancy Reagan's efforts to reason with rigid conservative ideologues who are blocking advances in stem cell research, this might be a tribute that all Americans could find unity with.

Jonathan Weintraub