Letter: Reagan administration hurt most Americans

I’ve had the displeasure of reading Ken Ray’s letter in response to Linden Atelsek’s (admittedly partisan) column, “We don’t need another Reagan.” Rarely have I read something as patronizing or pedantic in under 300 words. Mr. Ray must be a parent; his article reads like a father bending a toddler across his knee. I half expected him to say, “Hush, Linden. The adults are talking.”

It seems that millennials — and quite possibly women — are forbidden from discussing Reagan, let alone any topic from the 20th century. Meanwhile Ray congratulates his own grasp of “logic, facts, truth and common sense,” while his own arguments are mostly partisan platitudes. Perhaps conservatives can be zealots too, eh?

Speaking of Ray’s facts:

“Under Reagan people prospered.” — “people” here must mean white, straight, upperclass men. The kinds of economic policies pursued by Reagan’s administration destroyed the American middle class and led to today’s drastic economic inequality, as noted by economists like Thomas Picketty and Nobel-laureate Paul Krugman.

“Optimism returned.” — for whom? Reagan’s failed Drug War directly contributed to our mass incarceration crisis (one which disproportionately affects black Americans), while failing to halt drug consumption. Reagan’s administration ignored AIDS in 1981, allowing it to fester into a silent plague among gay and straight people (which it still is). Under Reagan, funding for mental health dropped, and deinstitutionalization put many mentally ill persons on the streets or in prison. And let’s not forget women’s rights, women’s healthcare or the ERA.

Admittedly, Atelsek might be too dismissive of Reagan — but Ray’s letter makes me wonder if he knows how to carry an equitable conversation with someone born in a different decade (or if he even remembers the '80s).

If this is how he treats millennials, all I can say is — Hush, Ken. The adults are talking.

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