Reagen could have been 100, but I don’t care. I am much happier to still have Jerry Brown.

That’s the old California Governor’s Mansion, sort of. Reagan had it built in lovely Carmichael, which is some of the loveliest land in all of Sacramento County, because Nancy hated the old one. Nobody ever actually lived in it and Schwazenegger sold it, finally.

The thing is, on the eve of the Reagan Centennial, I just feel a lot of repressed childhood anger at the man resurfacing. It’s weird for me now as an adult to talk to people who actually like Reagan or the idea of him. Granted, I was raised by a couple of liberals, and while they didn’t force feed us their politics, it was clear that Reagan was not a figure to admire. No doubt, punk rock had a hand in it, but I just always had some weird sense that Reagan (and Thatcher!) were bad, selfish people, embodying the most selfish aspects of society, and ready to screw you over. To this day, when people speak warmly of the man or say “things were good under Reagan”, it makes me think differently about them. I’ll admit it, I’m prejudiced. Unless you’re a rich white man who got richer in the 1980s, I’ll think you’re a fool for liking Reagan. I just bite my tongue.

The empty Governor’s Mansion was a good symbol of that.

My mom would occasionally drive us past it (we live not too far from it), and point it out. Point out that Reagan built it, that it was a waste of money, and that nobody lived there.

Which gets me to the weird affinity and warmth I have for Jerry Brown. Growing up, hearing the stories of Reagan’s term as governor, there was usually the foil of Brown. He chose to live in a modest apartment downtown, rather than stay in that suburban monstrosity. He was a bit crazy, but was overall good. He wasn’t Reagan.

So this weekend, as people are going crazy for Reagan, I wanted to go back and look at Brown’s first term as governor. (I’ll admit it, I was excited to vote for him this past year.) I watched this video of news clips of his first term. Cutting the budget, raising taxes. Is it 1974 again?

I really wish the people celebrating Reagan would acknowledge the messes he created. I blame the boom in the homeless population on him. I blame the culture of fear on him. I don’t like what he did to this state or the nation. I’m not saying Jerry Brown is an angel, but I feel he’s much more realistic and put the state in a better position. I hope he helps us turn it around now.

One comment

  1. dad

    Well written. People have been drinking the Reagan kool aid forever. I find it amusing that the LEAST intelligent (except for W) republican president continues to be the most influential, says a lot for white people.

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