Monday, July 4, 2011


Happy 4th of July, freaks.

Years ago, I had to do a report on the novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller for a high school english class. Like any warm-blooded American student is want to do, I put the report off to the last possible minute. The night before it was due, I forced myself to speed-read through the material, and with scant hours left before I had to hand in the paper that morning, I floundered to make sense of what I had just read. I had enjoyed the read, but even minutes after finishing the piece I was at a complete loss for what the point of the book was. In fact, my feeling of confusion was so profound, that I had decided that that feeling of confusion itself was the theme of the book. I felt that the novel was purposefully bewildering in an attempt to give the reader a sense of the confusion felt by soldiers during wartime. To this day I'm not really sure if I was right in my assessment, I got a decent grade and moved on with my life.

The reason I am relating this tale is because of a story from the BBC, which has for the first time since racing through Heller's text filled me with that same level of bewildered confusion. And the headline reads: Why London is getting a statue of Ronald Reagan. Yep, this should be good.

Ironic that Great Britain would choose to unveil a statue of an American leader so close to the anniversary of the United States' Declaration of Independence from the monarchy. Reagan won't be the first foreigner to have a statue erected in his honor on the soil of the British Empire. The likeness of Karl Marx presides in the Highgate Cemetery, funded by the British Communist Party in 1954. And Dwight Eisenhower, dressed in his military fatigue rather than the threads of his political office, stands in the same square that he used for his office in preparation for the D-Day assault of World War II, faces the new statue of Reagan. Which, by the way, costs roughly 1 million dollars, paid for out of the coffers of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, an organization devoted to ensuring Reagan's legacy remains untarnished by the sands of time.

London is not the only city receiving a facelift from the Reagan Presidential Foundation. Krakow, Budapest, and Prague have also seen recent unveilings to mark the centenary of Reagan's birth.

Now, there are a few quick points that have caused me to arch an eyebrow in confusion. I'm not even going to get in to why the Reagan President Foundation finds it necessary to advertise their beliefs in the form of million-dollar statues on foreign land. Or why Great Britain would choose to unveil their statue on the anniversary of one of the most historically important revolutions. But why did the Westminster City Council allow for the statue to be erected before the usual restriction of ten years after the subject's death? And even more interesting, there are already plans on the books for the American Embassy to move locations in the year 2017. So while today the statue is a short stone's throw from the embassy's door, in 2017 it will be in an entire different part of the city. So, why rush the established process when you know that the physical political landscape is going to change in less than a decade? Wouldn't it seem prudent to at least wait until the US Embassy moves into it's new location and erect the new statue there?

Of course, the political insensitivity of the move has me completely baffled. In this day in age when political activists are screaming from the rooftops and railing against the political machine which so deftly ignores the cries of its underprivileged citizens, isn't it at least a touch arrogant to erect a statue of a man who's only goal beyond the dissolution of the Soviet Union was an eradication of the welfare state and workers unions?

Well, that's enough out of me today. It's the 4th of July. And I pray that you're not so jaded as I am that you're reading this page on this day of national celebration. Go out and grill up some animal parts. And celebrate your chance at the American Dream by taking your own small piece of the pie and lighting it up to kingdom come with at least a metric ton of explosives. It's the American Way.


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