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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Centennial Celebrations and Death Valley Days

Of all the worthy Centennial Celebrations to write about, this particular blog is a critical comment on the 100th anniversary of the late television host of the old "Death Valley Days" shows.

There are certainly worthy Centennials going on this year. In 2010, the care giving nurses of the world are celebrating the Centennial Anniversary of the death of our professional founder Florence Nightingale. There's a Centennial Celebration going on with Catholic Charities throughout the United States. Millions of people are cared for by Catholic Charities agencies in the US and around the world. Nightingale and Catholic Charities should be honored in the US media this year.

But, instead, a Centennial commemoration is being promoted on national TV about the host of the old television show titled "Death Valley Days". This particular Centennial is sponsored by General Electric because the host of "Death Valley Days", as you have figured out by now, was the late President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), who was an actor when the GE theater shows were taped for television. Regan hosted "Death Valley Days" and GE Theater during his television years prior to entering politics to become governor of California. During the 1950s, Reagan traveled the nation as GE's goodwill ambassador.

Nancy Reagan is quoted in a press release about the General Electric tribute to her late husband. "The opportunity to represent GE back in the 1950s, and the encouragement he received from the employees he met along the way, really launched Ronnie's career in public service," Mrs. Reagan said. GE's gift includes lots of money. $10 million in cash will accompany advertising and promotion to support the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration. A Presidential museum refurbishing will open on the eve of Regan's 100th birthday. Reagan was born Feb. 6, 1911.

Reagan's Centennial celebration probably has nothing to do with politics. Shun the thought! Or NOT? Nostalgia about the late president can stir up thoughts of Happy Days, when Morning in America seemed only one more tax cut away from making us all supply side millionaires. Americans are still paying our way out of the debt created by the Regan economic revolution. Today's tax hawks should look back to Regan, the icon of conservatism, for digging the deficit hole when his administration drove the country $1.2 trillion into an economic abyss. Reagan was a mediocre actor, but he set the stage for today's insurmountable deficits.

In my opinion, President Reagan was a terrific host for "Death Valley Days". He introduced each show with the ambiance of an aging cowboy who wanted to tell you a good story. His entire Presidential mystique was wrapped up in his ability to communicate one good old story after another. He was a professional actor who never won an Oscar for his talent. Nonetheless, he made history on June 12, 1987, when he ordered President Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!" in Berlin, Germany, during a speech he gave at the Brandenburg Gate.

Reagan's much quoted speech sounded more like a re-run of the electrifying "Ich bin ein Berliner" or "I am a Berliner" speech which sparked the world when President John F. Kennedy professed his support for a free Germany during a June 26, 1963 speech at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin. Reagan simply acted out a 24 year old re-run of the Kennedy speech, in my opinion.

Let's pretend General Electric is running nostalgic "Death Valley Days" footage of President Regan for patriotic reasons. Hopefully, this Reagan Centennial campaign is not a jump start for the 2012 presidential election. Let's say the GE campaign is not a back door way to keep President Regan alive, six years after he died.

I've always believed the Republicans would vote for Ronald Reagan today if there was a way to prove he had the after life sightings of Elvis Presley. Thank You God for giving President Reagan the grace to die with dignity with Alzheimer's Disease. Dozens of people among his family and friends could verify his slow decline and demise. Otherwise, it is possible "The Gipper" President could be rolled in front of television cameras again, to host a sequel to "Death Valley Days".

It's nice to know GE wants to give money to the President Ronald Reagan museum. Thank you GE for this corporate generosity. Please, however, let the "Death Valley Days" host rest in political peace.

Centennial celebrations should focus people on how to improve our frail human condition. Florence Nightingale's life should be exhumed this year. All the people cared for by Catholic Charities agencies could hold hands around the world. I prefer to focus on purposeful Centennial celebrations, rather than be media fed a suspiciously political cause for a "Death Valley Days" actor.

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