A middle-aged hipster, wearing skinny jeans, dark framed glasses, and Chuck Taylors wrote an ode to the great Paul Westerberg in the Star Tribune this week upon his 50th birthday. Unremarkable in every way except for this aside about the era in which Westerberg came to prominence:
The Reagan era had become known as "Morning in America," if you recall, and if ever a dark joke has been told, surely that was it.
Rebels without a clue have been getting away with delivering variations of this line since the Gipper was still in office. I suppose you have to forgive the folks back then for being slaves of ignorance. They couldn't understand how Reagan's policies would affect events in the short, mid, or long term.
But it's been more than 20 years since the man left office, after two landslide victories. We know everything that happened during his terms. We know the full extent of his legacy. Despite all evidence to the contrary, clinging to the belief that his presidency was "a dark joke" or the opposite of "morning in America" is idiotic and just plain pathetic.
It is time to, in the immortal words of Paul Westerberg, shut up.
Or, more charitably, learn something about yourself from this other classic: