Nancy Reagan has died today. She passed away at the ripe old age of 94, with dignity, in the comforts of her Bel Air mansion and surrounded by loving family and friends (something denied to many people). An ending that is befitting of a matriarch to a political family. The news of her death should have just been a blip in the news which read something like:
Former First Lady, Nancy Reagan, wife of former president Ronald Reagan, passed away in her Bel Air home today, surrounded by loving family and friends. She was ninety-four years old. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones.
The end. There is nothing much else to say about Nancy Reagan but the above stated.
But oh my gosh. Every cable news channel’s news readers and show hosts all had a sudden leave of their senses and began to blather on and on and on, ad nauseum about the former First Lady. The Reagans’ old friends and political cronies all came out in their Sunday best, on national TV, teary eyed, lamenting the loss of a brilliant lady.
If Nancy Reagan was known for anything is for her unwavering devotion to her husband. Her unwavering adoration, she found little fault with him and even outdoes June Cleaver in the “yes dear” department. She mastered “the gaze”, which is the perpetual doe-eyed adoring stare while her husband is speaking and lying to the American public. He was the center of her universe. She was unabashed about it, unashamed and feminism be damned. She was happy to live in his shadow and be Mrs. Reagan and even went so far to say, “my life really began when I married my husband.” I must say I am a little jealous. I’ve been with my husband for nearly 12 years, married for 7, most days I feel irritated and contemptuous with myself and my marriage. It would make my life so much easier if I just simply “adored” my husband and worshipped the ground he walked on. I wouldn’t feel so irritated when things don’t go my way and he’d feel less annoyed with me and my constant need to “challenge” him, but I digress.
The Reagans’ are almost more known for their love story than anything he’s done as president. President Reagan was prone to writing toe curling long love notes to his wife while they were in the White House, when she was just two floors up. He’d send flowers to Nancy’s mother on Nancy’s birthday to thank her for giving birth to Nancy so she could be his wife. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. If my husband did such a thing, I’d order a psych eval on him, but, again, I digress.
The fact which she sees her marriage as her life’s best work means she should been seen as just that, a supportive and loving wife. She was no Hillary Clinton or even Barbara Bush who had their own platforms during their time as First Lady, however domestic the agenda may seem. Nancy Reagan’s agenda is Ronald Reagan. I do not consider her “Just Say No” campaign a legitimate platform. She didn’t investigate or research why people were doing drugs. If she did, she would realize that drugs are a byproduct of poverty and deprivation. No one is born and says “yes” to drugs without some outside factors. She didn’t care to look into the uneven and racist sentencing for different drug users, the best thing she can come up with is “Just Say No”, well, no shit – why didn’t I think of that.
As I was browsing through different cable channels, hoping to find something that isn’t Nancy Reagan related (with no luck), I kept hearing over and over just how “smart” she was. Every sentence or point they try to say about her is prefaced or ends with “she was so smart” or “you can’t imagine how smart she was”. I don’t know if she was smart of not. Judging on face value, she is of at least average intelligence. But what I do know is people who are truly smart do not need emphasizing of the point that they are smart. When people talk about Albert Einstein or Marie Curie, the sentence isn’t prefaced or ends with they are so “smart”. That’s given. They’ve proven their intelligence and academic prowess by their life’s work. People know Karl Marx was intelligent and intellectually unmatched, whether one agrees or disagrees with him, the fact remains, his mind was brilliant. There’s no need to mention his intelligence when talking about Marx.
This was a woman who wore $10,000 Valentino dresses when the country was in a deep recession, a recession caused by the Feds manipulating monetary policy, which her husband supported and got upset when someone pointed it out to her. She didn’t understand why people would point out or notice the Reagans’ profligacy when the rest of the country was suffering and unemployment rate was over 10%. This was a woman who consulted astrologers after her husband got shot and she didn’t want him going out in public spaces unless the stars were aligned, driving the White House staff crazy, making the jobs of people who arrange their schedules near impossible. People wonder what else did the Reagans’ consult the astrologers for? Maybe national security or economic policies? This was also a couple who refused to utter the word “AIDS” during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. They pretended it wasn’t happening and if were, it was a result of the gay lifestyle, something they wanted no part of.
Towards the end of her life, because of president Reagan’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, she raised a lot of funds for research into that horrific mind-robbing illness. Despite being pro-life and Republican, she approved the use of stem-cells to research Alzheimer’s. If she had a legacy besides being Mrs. Reagan, this could be it.
Lastly, no, she wasn’t a style icon. Her style was garish which was typical of the 1980s. She missed the first lesson in fashion which is “less is more”. Some of her gold chains and pearl necklaces rival that of Mr. T. Those $10,0000 designer dresses she wore? They wore her, she didn’t wear them, which is the second lesson in fashion. You wear the outfit, you don’t let the outfit wear you. Third lesson in fashion, expensive, designer made clothing doesn’t always look ‘expensive’ on the person wearing it. (I made these fashion rules up.)
So, please cable news, before I get back to my late night insomnia viewing and I’ve nothing else left to watch. Please shut up about Nancy Reagan. Let her rest in peace.