Tramp the Dirt Down

When England was the whore of the world
Margeret was her madam
And the future looked as bright and as clear as
the black tarmacadam
Well I hope that she sleeps well at night, isn’t
haunted by every tiny detail
‘Cos when she held that lovely face in her hands
all she thought of was betrayal…

Tramp the Dirt Down,” Elvis Costello

We like to tell this story in the U.S., about how Ronald Reagan saved us from ourselves, taught us to be proud again, etc. I heard the same story this morning on the news, this time from a Brit who’d stayed up all night for a glimpse of Margaret Thatcher’s coffin. Her funeral is a great piece of theater, and all of our war criminals lined up to salute her, from Kissinger to Cheney. Thatcher and Reagan were both masters at hiding policy behind theatrics.

That one voice, though, isn’t the entire story; lots of Brits are literally turning their backs on the funeral, protesting one of the leaders most responsible for the policies that both led into the word-wide recession and that continue to prevent a full recovery, from destroying labor unions to deregulating financial markets, to cutting taxes for the rich and services for the poor. The first step at ending what Thatcher/Reagan began is closing down the theater.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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