SAN NARCISO, Calif. -- In a startling political maneuver Monday, the San Narciso County chapter of the Tea Party -- the Association of Republican Seniors, Wives, Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (ARSWYPE) -- filed a motion with officials to ban all future Memorial Day celebrations within county lines. Not until Tuesday did the group make public its reasoning behind the petition. Confusion over ARSWYPE’s motives overshadowed the remembrance ceremonies held at Lake Inverarity and Porpentine Mound Cemetery in Bennington Vale. But for all the theories offered, Carlisle Olden-Whitely, chairman of ARSWYPE, finally clarified his group’s intent: “ARSWYPE considers Memorial Day the most offensive affront to conservative icon Ronald Reagan, and it must be abolished.”
Memorial Day History
Memorial Day began as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War. Formerly known as Decoration Day, the event was first observed in 1865 by freed slaves from South Carolina to commemorate fallen Union soldiers.
“This in and of itself remains problematic for us,” said Olden-Whitely. “Across the patriotic and mostly conservative county here, you’ll find a heritage of rich, proud, hard-working citizens with deep Southern roots. Most of the families in Bennington Vale can trace their histories back to former plantation owners -- shrewd, free-market businessmen trying to make this nation great while staving off big government intervention. Those ideals have not died in our hearts, even though the liberals in office keep fighting to kill them. So, what are we truly honoring? The end of state’s rights and capitalism, that’s what. There’s nothing American about that.”
By the early 20th century, Memorial Day had lost much of its initial meaning, becoming a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family get-togethers, fireworks, trips to the beach and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500. But Olden-Whitely doesn’t view this aspect of the holiday as dishonoring the memory of troops. “It dishonors the notion of limited government,” he said.
“Look,” Olden-Whitely continued, “they have Veteran’s Day. They don’t need a second holiday. Of course ARSWYPE always says that we support the troops, and by giving them work to do in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the tax dollars to do it, we have.”
Olden-Whitely also believes that those soldiers fighting for our freedoms understand that allocating more federal holidays than necessary runs contrary to a free country.
“What’s the difference between Memorial Day and one of Hitler’s many military holidays? Or Kim Jong-un’s? At what point is it blatant socialism?” he pondered. “ If Americans want to play hooky from work to waste the day barbecuing and drinking, they should call in sick from their jobs and deal with the consequences, not petition the government to sanction this decline in American productivity. Because that’s how China beats us, people.”
Dishonoring Ronald Reagan’s Memories, Or Lack Thereof
ARSWYPE’s biggest criticism of Memorial Day, according to Olden-Whitely, is how it seemingly marginalizes and ridicules former President Ronald Reagan’s fight against senility.
In November 1994, nearly three months after receiving the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, Reagan informed the nation of his condition through a handwritten letter:
I have recently been told by some man in a lab coat that I am one of the millions of Armenians [sic] who will be addicted [sic] with Alzheimer’s Disease. At the moment I feel just fine. I am married to the beautiful Jane Wyman, and my maid, Nancy, always tends to my every need. I feel so good that I might just pursue my dream of one day becoming a movie star, or even running for president. I’m tired of being a radio DJ. I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me doing the things I have always done...which, for the life of me, I can’t recall. I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead. I’m having trouble remembering Dawn, but I think she’s British and helped us out when we attacked Peter Falk’s sheep farm. Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you. Bless you all. Did someone sneeze? Where am I?
After the diagnosis, speculation arose over how long Reagan had demonstrated symptoms of mental degeneration, with some experts claiming it had manifested itself as far back as 1981.
In her memoirs, former CBS White House Correspondent Lesley Stahl recounted her final meeting with the president in 1986: “Reagan didn’t seem to know who I was. Oh my, he’s gonzo, I thought. I have to go out on the lawn tonight and tell my countrymen that the president of the United States is a doddering space cadet.”
Psychologists and critics cited Reagan’s perpetual optimism and sunny disposition throughout his second presidential term as further proof of a fundamental break with reality.
One analyst noted that “after Iran-Contra, a multi-trillion dollar deficit, the murders of thousands of people in Central America, a rise in U.S. crime, the ballooning of the AIDS epidemic, the crash of the stock market and the deaths of Marines in a failed Mid-East mission, we gave up trying to reconcile the country’s downward spiral with Reagan’s god complex.”
“If Reagan had been senile throughout his second term,” Olden-Whitely countered, “then explain to me the unprecedented approval ratings and praise that these ‘suffering’ Americans lavished upon him. This country, which had been lost for so long, finally found its way again through the efforts of our conservative savior, President Ronald Reagan.”
And in 1994, at the age of 83, that hero was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
“He couldn’t remember anything,” said Olden-Whitely tearfully. “To continue promoting a holiday based on remembering things is just the biggest insult to the greatest leader this country has ever produced. We cannot accept it. No American should.”
2014. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.