26 June 2005
Your first "WTF?" moment of summer
So I pretty much ignored this "Greatest American" thing on the Discovery Channel until tonight, when they wrapped the series up by naming the so-called "greatest American."
If you're not familiar with it, this was a public vote, from the nominating-the-top-100 all the way to the end. The fact that the public was responsible for the entire content of the show says a lot about the state of this nation. Dr. Phil? Oprah? Brett Favre?
Anyway, tonight was the end. The final five (alphabetically, of course) were Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan (???) and George Washington. I could see any four of these men being named the so-called "greatest American":
Franklin: he was Thomas Edison before Edison was cool, he avoided politics, and he was steppin' out up until the end of his very long life.
Lincoln: he pretty much saved the country from swallowing itself whole during the Civil War, he freed the slaves, and he made stove pipe hats look cool.
King: he somehow cooly, calmly, advanced the causes and perception of an entire race even though a whole bunch of people still felt they belonged at the back of the bus. Plus, he lived every day of his life feeling as if a rifle scope was aimed at him.
Washington: without him, there is no United States of America. He led the forces that sent the British back across the pond, he looked good in a powdered wig, and he had wooden teeth.
Personally, I'd have voted for Washington, with Lincoln, King and Franklin following.
So what happened? Well, you can see where this is going. Ronald Reagan was voted the "Greatest American."
Someone remind me what Reagan did again? Oh right, he won the Cold War all by himself, with no help from the people of Eastern Europe, who rose up against their governments and put their lives at risk. What else? He ignored AIDS for half a decade, indirectly leading to the deaths of who-knows how many people, and he ran up the biggest budget deficits in history until a certain George W came along.
He's the greatest American? I don't think so. I think he is the person that benefited from conservative action groups flooding the phone lines and the Internet with votes. I can't wait to hear and read the spin that the conservative folks in the media put on this, how this affirms what is being done today is "right."
Lord, what an example of how messed up this country is.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Reagan is the greatest American ever.
Just like I'm the greatest writer...