PRINT March 1987


the News and Its Pictures

THIS FACE MADE PROMISES. An end to the liberal American morass of self-doubt and inadequacy. An end to spinelessness, to America’s inability to stop the communism roosting at its doorstep. To a postcolonial world demanding freedom, self-determination, and violence on its own terms, this face responded with threats and decrees.

This face, most of all, put the American presidency back on top, bringing promises of an end forever to the nightmare of assassination, scandal, and ineffectuality that the office had been plagued by since 1963. This face showed how to take a bullet and spring back smiling, how to stumble and err and still look lovably human, how to sweet-talk the middle class even while breaking its back.

America wanted to believe, embrace, and absorb this face, to wrap itself in the face, sheltered by its puritan stiffness and elevated by its thin-lipped pride. No nonsense, said the

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