American Emperor

· Among the Barbarians

Some call it the Left Coast and others dismiss it as a fantastical realm of gurus and gayness but today I want you to think of it as the birthplace of the Republican Emperor on this the officially declared day of mourning for Ronald Reagan, late president of the Empire and former governor of the Barbarians.
But, you say, Reagan was born in Illinois, in the heartland of the Empire. True, but the myth of Reagan, the hero of the well-shod and down trodden, was born in the West. Those were not wingtips but custom-made cowboy boots hanging from the stirrups in his funeral parade.
The Reagan eulogies tend to skip his governorship but the Barbarians cannot forget it – from his inaugural swipe at the inadequacies of the governor’s mansion to his siccing of the National Guard on his unruly subjects. Even the Giant Redwoods felt his scorn, “If you’ve seen one tree you’ve seen them all,” he jovially declared in a photo op with lumber company executives. And they do tend to look the same as stacks of two-by-fours.
He ruled us but he could not tame us. Besides, if you want to have real power you must rule the Empire – not its hinterland. Even though that hinterland is a land of empires (Disney, Silicon and the Great Central valleys).
So we watch, some with nostalgia, some with pride, others with amused annoyance, the gilding of the Reagan funeral lilies by an American Emperor wiping the flop sweat from his momentarily relieved brow – he can relax for as long as the eulogies hog the front pages. Then it’s back to the disasters of his flailing foreign campaign.
And for those who have forgotten the political roots of this cherished champion of American Enterprise you might just want to rent an old movie for a preview of Emperors to come… it’s called “Conan the Barbarian.”
[Conan the Republican]