Friday, August 16, 2013

Dumbing defying down

Is installing solar panels on the White House roof really "defying Reagan"? It's true that in 1986 Reagan removed the solar panels that Carter had installed on the roof in 1979. Reagan was probably making a point by taking them down, so maybe you could say that he was "defying Carter" by taking them out. But Ronnie didn't try to decree that the White House roof should be free from solar panels for all time. And the solar panels of today are different from the 1979 models, being much cheaper and more efficient. So whatever reasons Reagan had for removing the Carter panels might not apply to the new Obama ones.

Every time a new occupant comes into the White House, they make changes to the house. Michelle Obama's vegetable garden is on the South lawn of the White House grounds, which means she had to remove whatever was there before she created the garden. FDR had the entire South lawn redesigned by Frederick Olmsted in 1934. Did Michelle "defy FDR" when she created the garden? No more than FDR "defied" his cousin Theodore, who had altered the South lawn during the 1902 White House renovations. I don't see why the solar installation is any different. Why must people spin decisions like these into imaginary conflicts?

(via Memeorandum)