One of the most shocking reveals of my generation (I’m 32) is that the 101 Dalmatians villain, Cruella Deville, is a play on Cruel Devil.
For some reason, we’ve missed that. In the same way, we missed that it’s the Berenstain Bears, for some reason my co-millennials remember them as the Berenstein Bears (don’t believe me? Look it up).
Beren-STEIN became the accepted pronunciation, and Cruella Deville was presented to us at an age where we didn’t have the capacity to abstract and seek patterns in the way we do as adults.
This gives rise to the uncritical echo chamber, I know who Cruella Deville is, and I never thought twice about her name, nor did I think of proper orthography with the Berenstain Bears and yet the concepts remained in my mind unchallenged.
We remember Ronald Reagan as a right-wing politician and we think of Barack Obama as a leftist. Reagan was compared to an ultra-leftist in Jimmy Carter, and the concept of him as a right-wing leader remains in our minds.
Obama was compared to the blunt wars of George W. Bush, and the concept of him as a left-wing leader remains in our minds.
Ronald Reagan was a war-hawk. He was tried in the International Court of Justice for his financing terrorists in Nicaragua, and also gave assistance to terrorists in El Salvador. His biggest miscalculation, in terms of national security, was supporting the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan. Although his rhetoric on Iran was aggressive, his arms deal with them indicates more geniality toward the repressive Revolutionary Guard than his rhetoric suggested.
In Nicaragua, 50,000 people were killed and in El Salvador, 75,000 lost their lives; in terms of the utter inhumanity of U.S. presidents, those are rookie numbers.
Obama financed the beginning of a rebel movement in Syria that killed over 500,000 people in a civil war.
Reagan’s arms deal with Iran, involving 2,500 anti-tank missiles, and 18 anti-aircraft missiles, is a rounding error compared to Obama’s 98% increase in arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Obama’s cruelty went as far as to partner with the Saudis in their genocidal war campaign against Yemen, who brutalized them to the point of using starvation as a weapon of war leaving 17 million on the brink of death by malnourishment.
The easiest way to view the discrepancy between Obama and Reagan is at their respective tax rates. The highest marginal tax rate under Reagan was 69% and his capital gains tax was between 20-28%. Obama’s highest marginal tax rate was 35% and his capital gains tax was 15%.
I’ve brought up this discrepancy several times with my American friends and they assure me that it’s merely the result of Reagan dealing with a Democratic Congress and Obama dealing with a Republican Congress. This level of escapism dissipates when one investigates their respective campaigns on their ideal tax structure.
There’s a further observation in immigration.
Reagan assisted his Congress in implementing amnesty, but his administration oversaw the deportation of 168,364 immigrants. Obama also pursued amnesty; however, his administration oversaw a shocking deportation of over 2,000,000 immigrants.
There’s a severe risk of oversimplifying the situation. The overall tax burden under Reagan wasn’t much more severe than under Obama when deductions and other forms of taxation are taken into consideration. Herein lies the thesis of this essay – rhetoric dominates political discourse, not substance.
The Iran-Contra affair was a scandal. The Saudi Arms deal isn’t even scandalizing to us anymore. The lack of ethical concern is telling.
There is no truth in politics. There is only appearance. The late-night comedians, the radio talk show hosts, the memes, the rhetoric, these will all persuade you that Obama is further to the left than Reagan.
Ethics is so non-existent in politics, truth is so non-existent in our thinking, that individuality in terms of using our minds to grapple with ethics and truth is fleeting and becoming increasingly replaced by uncritical groupthink.
Individualism had a brief surge; Eden had replaced Ape-ish tribalism and humanity flourished.
Reagan once described human evolution as a climb from the swamp to the stars. In abandoning truth and ethics, the things that separate us from the animals, we seem to be crawling back to the swamp.
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