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Boston Guy
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Great bitterness has been expressed here in threads regarding the deaths of Ronald Reagan and Ray Charles, bitterness that doesn't simply extend to differences over politics or policies but is instead deep, personal and unyielding. In yet another thread, speaking to the length of the National Funeral, Trilingual asks "Is it over yet?"

 

Funerals are funny things. We say we're going to a funeral "for" whoever it is who died. But we're only fooling ourselves. Funerals are for us, the living, the ones left behind, and most of all for the family who are so often and so justly devastated by their loss.

 

Many of us didn't agree with many of Reagan's policies. I know I didn't. But many of us who disagreed could still respect the man, for there was every sign that he was a decent man trying to do a decent job. But none of that matters, not right now, not this week, or at least I think it shouldn't.

 

Funerals are for those who are grieving and many in America and elsewhere took great inspiration from Ronald Reagan. The National Funeral is, if for no one else, for them. It's a way of saying goodbye to a leader they believed in, a man they felt greatly connected to and took inspiration from. That is worthy of our respect, if for no other reason than that they are our fellow citizens and our friends and families. They are due our respect.

 

At funerals, respect is called for. Enmity that held firm in life should let go. Nothing will change the past and, while it will be forever debated in the future, plain human compassion suggests respect for those who are grieving during a funeral.

 

State funerals are even more complex, for they deal in more than grief and help a nation seek out its core values, the ones that draw us to each other in hard times. State funerals allow us to feel pride in our nation and proud to be among its citizens. State funerals are for the family of the deceased but much, much more for the nation.

 

For the last dozen years, there has been a strong undercurrent of discord or what at times feels close to hatred in our national politics. Seldom do we see our leaders interacting as adversaries but not enemies; instead, now, they often seem more like enemies. It's probably too much to hope, but a state funeral for a man who was truly liked as a person by both Democrats and Republicans might help remind us that politics does not have to be vicious, does not have to be bitter.

 

How, as a nation, have we lost the ability to disagree with a smile, to respect the opinions of those with whom we disagree? How have we lost the ability to separate the policies of a man from the integrity and values of the man himself? How have we lost the understanding that funerals are a time to grant the family respect and hold our disputes and hard words to another day?

 

I found myself thinking that Reagan's battle with Alzheimer's may have been a dark cloud with a silver lining. If he had died ten years ago, I think the funeral might have been somehow different, perhaps less uniting. But time heals wounds. It's fifteen years now since Reagan was in office and the nation can concentrate today more on the good memories. We're a very divided nation, full of bitter partisan politics. A week-long state funeral has given people a chance to reflect on core values, on what it is to be American, on what it means to live and to die, on what it is that we each really believe... and believe in.

 

As a final gift from a genial guy from a humble background who rose to inspire millions of his fellow citizens as President of the US for eight years, it's not a bad one.

 

BG

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Guest Tampa Yankee

Comity... there was a time.

 

Well said BG. You have captured much of what has been running through my head the past few days.

 

I have a few other thoughts on how two strong political adversaries could do battle and at then end of the day put aside differences for a drink or two and some jokes. That was a great time that I miss and have since the early 90s. I dont wish to get this thread banished to the Politics Forum, a place I dont frequent, so I will quit here. :)

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>Great bitterness has been expressed here in threads regarding

>the deaths of Ronald Reagan and Ray Charles, bitterness that

>doesn't simply extend to differences over politics or policies

>but is instead deep, personal and unyielding.

 

"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily, I say unto you, They have their reward." Matthew 6:5

 

In the Brother Ray Charles thread, you quite sensitively pointed out that what we write here reveals things about our inner life. What does it reveal about someone when they can't stop posting sermon after sermon chastising other for impropriety and meanness and praising their own views and conduct as exemplifying sweetness and kindness and "compassion"? See above.

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Matthew had so much to say - what a talkative (and even redundant) fellow he was:

 

"Moreover when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward." Matthew 6:16.

 

We get it, BG - you fast; we don't. But fasting only has meaning when done in private. When the person fasting runs around constantly announcing how vigilant and pious his fasting is, and condeming others for failing to fast, the true motive of such a person becomes sadly transparent.

 

And disfiguring your face with public piety can lead to premature wrinkles, and you know how much premature wrinkles can impede your efforts in the gay community.

 

Verily I say unto you, you shall have your reward.

 

Oh, and one last thing Matthew wanted to tell you. Don't let the cheering hordes here (see, e.g. Posts # 1-3) blind you to any of this: "Even so ye also appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." Matthew 23:25-28.

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>Funerals are for those who are grieving and many in America

>and elsewhere took great inspiration from Ronald Reagan. The

>National Funeral is, if for no one else, for them. It's a way

>of saying goodbye to a leader they believed in, a man they

>felt greatly connected to and took inspiration from. That is

>worthy of our respect, if for no other reason than that they

>are our fellow citizens and our friends and families.

>They are due our respect.

 

I was out of town on business this week and only had time to glance at the board with horror as some pretty disgusting things were said. I certainly wasn’t surprised, just disgusted.

 

I kept thinking back on the shuttle disaster and the evil garbage that ad rian spewed on the board. I have never cyber-hated someone so much in my entire life. I see little difference between ad rian’s comments and the evil shit said this week about “burning in Hell” and “good riddance.”

 

I understand that Reagan was a political figure so there are going to be people who disagreed with him or feel they were negatively impacted by his policies, but the total inability to mourn the death of an American president who was loved by millions is mind-boggling.

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>I kept thinking back on the shuttle disaster and the evil

>garbage that ad rian spewed on the board. I have never

>cyber-hated someone so much in my entire life. I see little

>difference between ad rian’s comments and the evil shit said

>this week about “burning in Hell” and “good riddance.”

 

Hey, Phage - As I've been saying for a week now, I couldn't agree more with what you say here. I was amazed not only at the intensity of the hatred and the death-celebration being directed towards Ronald Reagan before he was even buried, but also at the utter silence by many people posting in the Ronald Reagan threads (including Boston Guy, who posted in those threads but didn't find his outrage until yesterday, as well as other people posting in this thread agreeing with him).

 

I was actually going to start a thread directed towards you just to ask you about this picture, which is so Fred Phelps-like, as were many of the comments by the Good Liberals here this week:

 

http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20040611/capt.zeb10206111551.ronald_reagan_zeb102.jpg

 

What do you think? Should it be legal or not?

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>Very well put. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

 

How can you sit there and tell him that what he said was "very well put," when YOU are one of the people who started a thread this week saying that Reagan was a disgusting "bigot" and that God will judge him? You wrote a whole post saying that Reagan was evil and implying that he's on his way to a blazing inferno for eternity.

 

But now that you see that 6 people come and tell BG that his sermon is nice, you want to be on the side of Good and so you change your tune 180 degrees and now switch from one of those people who were sending Reagan off to hell with cries of "EVIL BIGOT!," into someone who thinks it's not nice to be disrespectful to someone in the middle of their funeral.

 

I know South Beach is full of nothing but bottoms, but you are the same SouthBeachBtm who said this, aren't you:

 

<<"A president who hurt our Nation is gone. God will judge..."

 

Old Ronnie is gone. He was devasting to our countries economy and to our society. It was deeply offensive to many that a man who used racial slurs publicly could even win such a high office. A man who broke the law during his term in office by funding the Contras and later lied about it. [/b]He is not deserving of such a grand send off.[/b].

 

I will not sit here and act like he was anything more than he was. A very charismatic and charming Biggot who stole from the poor and gave it to the Rich.>>

 

BG is making the OPPOSITE point - that he IS deserving of this send off and that it's wrong for people, in the middle of his funeral, to suggest that he's going to hell.

 

So, having done exactly that which BG is criticizing, how can you now come - after seeing people praise BG's sermon -and pretend that you agree with him and are one of the ones who didn't do it?

 

Really - how do you not make yourself vomit?

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>What do you think? Should it be legal or not?

 

It’s all so complicated. Reagan was a public figure and a political one at that. The nature of his life and job put him out there for public comment and consumption. His policies and actions had real effect on people who should have a right to respond. Matthew Shepard was none of these things.

 

However, if I were calling the shots, it would indeed be illegal. There’s room for compromise. Just as I have no problem with the Phelps clan promoting their message of hate at their church or most other locations. A protest at some location unrelated to the funeral or the funeral procession should be allowed.

 

What purpose does a demonstration at a funeral serve? What policy will it change or even impact? It doesn’t do anything except cause pain and anguish to a family who is already mourning the loss of a loved one. (And enrage otherwise moderate people like myself.) No one has the right to inflict pain because they have some kind of sick need to lash out.

 

Whether legal or not, you’re absolutely correct that these sick fucks are exactly like Fred Phelps. Just as despicable and just as evil. I’m really surprised that someone didn’t hurt them.

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As others have pointed out, funerals are complicated things. Respect does not mean that you blot out reality, however. One of the better memorial services I attended was for a colleague, a gay man who died of liver cancer. I didn't know him well, but I knew he he could be a very difficult person under certain circumstances. In addition, he had peaked early in his career and was discouraged with the turn it had taken. He also was still grieving the loss of his partner and had a serious drinking problem that probably helped kill him. In other words, there was alot of anger and bitterness in the man and drinking didn't help it. The service was warm but not mawkish and the people who knew him best were quite willing to talk about the person they knew, warts and all. They didn't talk about everything (no one mentioned the drinking, for example), but you came away with a real, rounded sense of who he was.

 

A few years later, an aunt of mine died. She was a rather complicated person---an uncle once described her (fairly accurately) as someone who would give you the shirt off her back and then stab you in the back. Her minister (who had known her for over 25 years) gave her the blandest, most shallow eulogy ever. Another aunt, who sat next to me, whispered that she wanted nothing lack that at her funeral. My aunt's church had gone through a big schism and she had stuck by this minister, who was far more liberal than her. A "polite" eulogy like the one she received, for a loyal parishoner, served no purpose. We all knew who she was and the real person could have been described without being bitchy or catty.

 

The coverage of Reagan's funeral went beyond polite. I'm just old enough to remember JFK's funeral rites, which dragged on seemingly forever (although they were much shorter than this). Kennedy, in his day, was a divisive figure and faced a difficult re-election campaign, but the sudden, violent quality of his death brought incredible grief from even those who wouldn't ever vote for him. It's amazing to see the number and range of world leaders who attended (as opposed to the has-been crowd for Reagan). In many ways, Reagan had been functionally dead for a long time. His death was not unexpected, and many of his obituaries were written years ago. People like me who had little use for him as president can thoughtfully criticize much of the hagiography that accompanied his death. He had a track record which included things that conservatives would want to forget (e.g., raising taxes twice, turning tail from Lebanon) and a great many things that liberals can't forget (e.g., AIDS, Iran-Contra). One can recount his life without being nasty but also without side stepping the obvious---he didn't end the Cold War, internal decay in the Soviet Union did, along with the emergence of a new generation of leaders, particularly Gorbechev. Whether Reagan's policies sped up the process is an open question--the threat of a new armes race may have sped things up, OTOH, all the saber rattling and adventures like the silly invasion of Grenada may have prolonged matters. I think the length of the show, its having been hijacked by the Bush administration and the Republican Congress at various points, and the lack of balance, not mention the outright lies have tarnished it for many people who such as myself who were also able to be touched by Nancy Reagan (even though we know she has a less than angelic history, herself).

 

So give me a break. It shouldn't have dragged on for a week. It didn't need to be 24/7, even on the news networks. They don't do this for political conventions any more, why for this. The networks, broadcast and cable, should have recognized when Bush was trying to use it as free advertising, and the record should have been put in proper context. Reagan was not very popular for most of his second term--they should have recognized that they faced a somewhat divided public. They also could have shown more of the obvious--that the Iran-Contra people are the same folks who dragged us into Iraq. It's not a lot to ask for.

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After looking at the Ray Charles thread again, I think I need to give equal time to "Brother Ray". Virtually every obit mentioned the heoin addiction (which he kicked many years ago) and aquite a few mentioned the womanizing. Most neglected his veratility with musical instruments, although most remarked on his wide range of material. Any of his hits from the 50s or 60s will bring a smile from popel old enough to remember them and from a younger crowd. The only time I say him live was in an airport--he was recognized by people from an astonishing range of ages. The point is--he touched people, his biography (like Reagans, written years ago, in most cases) usually presented his warts

 

Reagan had a number of unpleasant personas--he used his position as a Union leader to help his agent get a sweetheart deal for Universal Studios. He gave no help to people who's creers were ruined by McCarthyism. His more recent policies have been adquately discussed, already. A warts and all obit would be no less appropriate than pointing out Charles' drug use and womanizing. Given that Charles gave up the heoin years ago, it's particularly ridicuolos to paint hima s eveil because he once was addicted to heroin. OTOH, there's plenty to dislike about Reagan going back decades and he was largely the same person at the end as he'd been quite a long time before. So, again, you can have warts, you can have balance, hopefully we'll not have another public funeral like Reagan's.

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A good obit can point out the warts while still finding good things to say about the deceased, as well. Assuming, of course, there was anything good to be said about the deceased!

 

In Ray Charles's case, he obviously had the kind of problematic life many artists have experienced, but he won't be remembered in the long run for the problems he had in his personal life but for his art and for the deep and genuine pleasure it brought to so many people.

 

Not being a Greedy Old Plutocrat, I can't imagine what deep and genuine pleasure Ronald Reagan brought to anyone, except to the richest of the rich. But at least I'm no hypocrite. I thought he was a repulsive old fake when he was governor of California and then President, and nothing has happened to change my opinion. I understand his family will feel pain at his loss, but I'm not a member of his family. I'm just one of the average citizens who got trickled down on by Reagan and his cronies. So I'm not sorry he's dead, I won't miss him, and I truly don't see what he did to earn such adulation. But it's obvious that his endless funeral made those who idolize him very happy, as it will all the right-wing pols who are so determined to project an image of the man as beloved of everyone.

 

BTW, my recollections of Kennedy are a bit different, although I was only 13 when he ran for President and only 16 when he was killed. He was controversial before he was elected because of his Roman Catholicism, but my recollection is that the controversy mostly died down after he was elected. There certainly hasn't been a politician as charismatic as Kennedy since then. During his administration he really managed to elevate the level of public discourse; he was an eloquent and thrilling speaker. He made people proud to be Americans, and he spoke to America's highest aspirations. He inspired an entire generation into public service. We know now, of course, years after his death, that he was no saint. But that wasn't the case during his lifetime, and he was genuinely beloved and admired by hundreds of millions of people in the U.S. and around the world, who saw in him the best of what America was about. (He was also a genuine war hero, unlike Ronald Reagan.) When Kennedy was killed, the entire world stopped, spontaneously. His assasination was a shock not just to his political friends, but to everyone. And everyone alive and old enough at the time remembers exactly where they were and how they learned that Kennedy had been shot. Except for his family, I don't think there will be many people who will have the date and time of Reagan's death burned into their brains. To this day, there are principal streets and avenues and squares and boulevards in cities around the world named for President Kennedy. It's highly unlikely there will be a similar outpouring around the world for Reagan. If you doubt me, let's check back in ten years and see how many Boulevards Ronald-Reagan have sprouted around the world. I suspect there will be about as many as the Boulevards George-W.-Bush. . . x(

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Guest Merlin

Reagan was liked by far more people than Kennedy. JFK was elected only because his father got the mob in Illinois to stuff the ballot box. The election was that close. The liberal media has promoted the idea that everyone loved Kennedy but it is doubtful that he would have been elected to a second term, so many people strongly disliked him. He was all glamour and speech, but as a President he was largely unsuccessful. And the biggest fraud ever. He would not have been elected or reelected if people had know about is cheating on his wife or about his bad health hidden from the public. And, don't say his personal life was irrelevant.He and Bobby wanted to fire Hoover from the FBI, and should have, but Hoover let be known that he had a file on JFK's women. His mishandling of the missle problem in Cuba created a crisis which almost precipitated World War III. And that is about his only accomplishment. To his credit, he did lower taxes.

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(Jumping back in, did you miss me Doug?)

 

http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20040611/capt.zeb10206111551.ronald_reagan_zeb102.jpg

 

>What do you think? Should it be legal or not?

 

Hmm... that's a tough one. Would you agree the far-right protesting Mathew Shepard's funeral in an even more offensive way should have been illegal as well? Would you rail against similar protests if Clinton were to die soon, or would you be there with them? Not that he'd get a state funeral in this political climate...

 

I would also point out there are only five or so extremests holding those signs, they don't speak for the "left" nor even the group they're standing in (note the white-haired woman in front). But I fully agree it is in extremely bad taste, and even being far-left have chastened anybody who's said they're glad he's dead to me. To make it actually illegal though, especially at an official government proceeding... There seems to be a pretty strong constitutional case against that (not that little things like that stop the Attorney General, mind you).

 

It is strange that a dead republican can be protested far more effectively then a live candidate, what with the wonder of "free speech zones" (its been said the difference between now and the book 1984 is simply that Orwell was 20 years early.) and all.

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>(Jumping back in, did you miss me Doug?)

 

One mintue he's castigating the Politics Forum as some bizarre freak show where nobody dares to tread. The next minute, he's posting in that very same forum.

 

How could I not miss unique behavior like that?

 

>Hmm... that's a tough one. Would you agree the far-right

>protesting Mathew Shepard's funeral in an even more offensive

>way should have been illegal as well?

 

I don't think that those protests - as repugnant as they are - should be illegal. I happen to believe in the First Amendment. I asked Phage if HE thought those protests should be illegal because he believes (and I don't) that Fred Phelps' "God Hates Fags" protests at funerals should be illegal, and we've argued about that before. I wanted to see if he was consistent in his beliefs, and he was, as am I.

 

Would you rail against

>similar protests if Clinton were to die soon, or would you be

>there with them?

 

The one thing I didn't miss is your bigotry and stereotype-driven, painfully primitive "thought" (but don't worry - there are others here who, in your absence, keep the tank full):

 

YOU "THINK": "He believes in conservative principles with regard to economics, foreign policy, and certain social issues, therefore he hates Bill Clinton and would be glad to see, and may even be involved in, protests at Clinton's funeral proclaiming that he's in hell."

 

All of that is in your sadly partisan, blind, dead brain. I don't hate Bill Clinton. I thought he was smart, competent and did many things well as President. Notwithstanding the fact that I disagreed with the position he took on numerous policy issues, I dont wish him ill and wouldn't want to see him dead.

 

That's because I'm not trapped in the Yes-no, "the other side is evil" prison that you live in. Because you are trapped in it, you can't even fathom, let alone understand, that there are people who aren't. That's what makes talking to people like you so genuinely sad. You live in a world of petty partisan caricatures and stereotypes, and you yourself exemplify one. I can't even imagine how dank and dark that mental hellhole is, and am grateful that I don't have to exist there with you.

 

Not that he'd get a state funeral in this

>political climate...

 

All Presidents get state funerals as a matter of right. Whining that Bill Clinton wouldn't get one is just yet more "WE-ARE-VICTIMS-AND-THE-OTHER-SIDE-CHEATS!!!" self-pitying garbage.

 

>I would also point out there are only five or so extremests

>holding those signs, they don't speak for the "left" nor even

>the group they're standing in (note the white-haired woman in

>front).

 

Go to any Internet discussion group frequented by liberals -- including this one -- and you will see that those protestors are anything but aberrations.

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>One mintue he's castigating the Politics Forum as some bizarre

>freak show where nobody dares to tread. The next minute, he's

>posting in that very same forum.

>

>How could I not miss unique behavior like that?

 

I wondered if that would be noticed. :7 My position in that thread was a bit extreme, and there's more activity in here then there has been in a while.

 

>I don't think that those protests - as repugnant as they are -

>should be illegal. I happen to believe in the First

>Amendment. I asked Phage if HE thought those protests should

>be illegal because he believes (and I don't) that Fred Phelps'

>"God Hates Fags" protests at funerals should be illegal, and

>we've argued about that before. I wanted to see if he was

>consistent in his beliefs, and he was, as am I.

 

Interesting. To argue the other side, even a private citizen's private funeral? That's the one place I could condone shoving protesters into a free speech zone miles away, though I fully admit it becomes a slippery slope maybe best stayed off of.

 

>The one thing I didn't miss is your bigotry and

>stereotype-driven, painfully primitive "thought" (but don't

>worry - there are others here who, in your absence, keep the

>tank full):

>

>YOU "THINK": "He believes in conservative principles with

>regard to economics, foreign policy, and certain social

>issues, therefore he hates Bill Clinton and would be glad to

>see, and may even be involved in, protests at Clinton's

>funeral proclaiming that he's in hell."

>

>All of that is in your sadly partisan, blind, dead brain. I

>don't hate Bill Clinton. I thought he was smart, competent

>and did many things well as President. Notwithstanding the

>fact that I disagreed with the position he took on numerous

>policy issues, I dont wish him ill and wouldn't want to see

>him dead.

 

So you admit the entire right-wing punditry was wrong to stand up and scream "wag the dog" every time he tried to do something even as simple as a missile strike, against Saddam or terrorists? That their actions were closer to the Treason Coulter and Hannity foam at the mouth about then anything in mainstream liberals about the march to war in Iraq? That the endless effort to undermine the last popularly elected president, from day one, which in the end even after attaching -gate to half the words in the english language and spending millions of dollars and countless man-hours of FBI and other investigative time found that he lied about a blow job was fucking ridiculous?

 

>That's because I'm not trapped in the Yes-no, "the other side

>is evil" prison that you live in. Because you are trapped in

>it, you can't even fathom, let alone understand, that there

>are people who aren't. That's what makes talking to people

>like you so genuinely sad. You live in a world of petty

>partisan caricatures and stereotypes, and you yourself

>exemplify one. I can't even imagine how dank and dark that

>mental hellhole is, and am grateful that I don't have to exist

>there with you.

 

Yeah, it's the *left* that can't escape an ideological box... I suppose my premise was incorrect, you obviously can't be fully within their box because of their view of gays.

 

>>Not that he'd get a state funeral in this

>>political climate...

>

>All Presidents get state funerals as a matter of right.

>Whining that Bill Clinton wouldn't get one is just yet more

>"WE-ARE-VICTIMS-AND-THE-OTHER-SIDE-CHEATS!!!" self-pitying

>garbage.

 

Actually, I heard quite clearly, several times, that this was the first state funeral in 30 years during the week of (rose-colored-glasses) remembrance. We've obviously had former presidents die in the last 30 years, so your statement doesn't seem to agree with the facts... The question is, would Nixon have gotten one if he'd wanted it (did he really not want it?)?

 

>>I would also point out there are only five or so extremists

>>holding those signs, they don't speak for the "left" nor

>>even the group they're standing in (note the white-haired woman

>>in front).

 

>Go to any Internet discussion group frequented by liberals --

>including this one -- and you will see that those protestors

>are anything but aberrations.

 

Oh, sorry, I thought we were discussing the act of protesting Reagan's funeral as shown by the photograph you supplied, not every "liberal" on every message board on the Internet.

 

If many/most liberals feel this way on Reagan, and its an extremely liberal media, how did we just have a week of fawning, pretty much entirely positive remembrances?

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