In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States. I was 14. He was just some old Brylcreemed bullshitter from California, and remained that way until 1986.
Then we all found out that steely glitter in his eyes, which might just have been glaucoma, was for real: Gramps was a killer. This was a guy who, for purely ideological reasons, would mix Iranian extremists with Nicaraguan rebels. A combination similar in volatility to nitric acid and glycerine. It woke me up.
I owe him this: Ronald Reagan made me the scratchy, anarchistic malcontent I am today. Without his influence I might have subsided into the decent-minded futility of the party-line Democrat. It took the Great Communicator to communicate to me the real message of the modern conservative: fuck you.
So here’s to Ronald Reagan, our fortieth president, on the occasion of your passing from this life: fuck you back.
BEN TRIPP is a screenwriter and cartoonist, who lives in a large human settlement 100 miles south of Bakersfield, which we cannot name for security reasons. Ben also has a lot of outrageously priced crap for sale here. A collection of Tripp’s essays, Square in the Nuts, will be published this summer. If his writing starts to grate on your nerves, buy some and maybe he’ll flee to Mexico. If all else fails, he can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org