I am showing my age here, but I remember vividly hating Reagan and his gang of buffoons. He was the Teflon President; nothing the press nor Congress (a Democratic Congress at that — there I go showing my age again) could say or do would diminish Reagan in the eyes of his handlers or the public. Reagan is now treated as a mythic, god-like president, an untouchable, redoubtable, unquestionable presence in the 20th-century world stage. And I miss him. I haven’t changed my mind about his awful presidency. Nor have I come to believe the pundit-wisdom that he was responsible for the fall of the Evil Empire. He led the nation into an intractable conservative mode of thought that we haven’t been able to shake off, despite all reason and moral clarity otherwise, for nearly 25 years. Yes, he was bad and made my nation poorer in the process, but, Lord, I miss him, because he was original. Now our puppet president is just a super-condensed rehash of the original. Want moralist Ed Meese? We’ve got fightin’ John Ashcroft. Want a dab of George Schultz, Al Haig, and James Watts? Hey, glom them all together in Dick Cheney. Sure, the cast today is more colorful than the pasty-white team that was the Reagan administration, but pound for pound W’s crew is just as reactionary as Reagan’s. Reagan, too, reduced our rights and invaded our privacy, and set it all to the sweet music of the dawning of a new morality. Reagan, too, blithely ran up deficits while cutting taxes for the wealthy, calling it economic stimulus. Reagan, too, deregulated industry just enough to feed the vultures, but never enough to ensure that trade was fair, nor that prices were truly market driven. But this is all name-calling. So what? Who cares? The only reason that this is pertinent to me is that we’ve been issued what can only be called a Civil Defense warning, by our Office of Homeland Security, to duct tape our doors in case of terrorist attack. Department stores in Virginia have run out of stock, so if you live in that area, let me know. Long Islanders are apparently more blasé about the warnings. We have plenty in our stores. I’ll send you a roll or two at cost. No need to profit over groundless fears. Groundless? No, that’s not the right word. Useless. Yeah, that’s the one. See the whole thing reminds me so much of the Civil Defense instructions that we received when we were sure that the end result of Reagan’s arms-buildup was nuclear war, that I just can’t take these warnings seriously. We were actually told, in the event that Soviets launched their arsenal of massive death, to dig shallow trenches in the soft earth and cover ourselves with something sturdy, like a wooden door. Yep. When over 10 feet of the Earth’s crust evaporates into fine dust particles to hasten a nuclear winter, we’ll all be very happy that we dug a shallow trench. So, I’m thinking that duct tape around our doors won’t keep out the radiation or Anthrax or Smallpox or Halitosis or whatever those sneaky terrorists are going to unleash on us. I’m thinking that this is the media sideshow that takes away from what is really happening, and what really needs to be done. And what really needs to be done is voting these ingrates out of office, but it looks like it will be a long couple of years before we get to do that.