Reagan Revolution through President Obama
Since the proclamation of Independence in 1776 and up to the present days, the U.S. history has been full of significant events. The period, since 1981 when Reagan became the President of the U.S. and until Obama’s presidency in 2009, is no exception. Such historical events as the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger, Black Monday of 1987, 1992 Los Angeles riots, September 11 terrorist attacks, 2004 Atlantic hurricane season, among many other influenced the America’s current society, economy, and politics significantly. Nevertheless, Black Monday of 1987 and September 11 terrorist attacks are the major historical turning points that are analyzed in this paper.
The stock market crash of 19 October 1987 was an inevitable consequence of inflation in the period from 1982 to 1987 and substantial increase in the money supply. Economic crisis of 1987 led to the increase in unemployment and consequent deterioration of the living standards of most of the population, decrease in level of social security, and increase in crime rates. The U.S. dollar fell to its lowest level in the history of the United States as compared to the rates of the major world currencies. The crisis negatively affected the public mood. It was manifested during the presidential election of 1988 when hardly half of the voters participated in the process.
On September 11, 2001, the country experienced the biggest terrorist attack in the U.S. history. It became one of the most terrible trials for the American people. September 11th caused a broad variety of political consequences. About a month after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the United States assembled and headed a coalition of international forces, whose aim was to overthrow the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Immediately after the attacks, the Bush administration announced the “war on terrorism.” Americans greatly appreciated the efforts of the emergency services, especially the fire department. People were impressed with the risk all the rescuers had brevity to take up and regretted the high losses among them. Many police and emergency services took leave from the main service and went to New York to help in the search for survivors. In the next few weeks after the terrorist attacks, the number of blood donors in the country also increased. In these difficult days, the American people showed a high cohesion, mutual support, and assistance.
In the U.S., the spread of HIV / AIDS began in1981. The first cases of a rare type of pneumonia that could not be cured were reported among gays. Since politicians could allow ignoring such groups as homosexuals, they did not want to respond to the epidemic of AIDS among them. Even President Reagan did not want to focus on AIDS. Consequently, many prejudices and false information about the disease appeared. Governmental officials preferred to ignore the problem of AIDS; they did not provide proper moral and informational support to the community on the issue. During a press conference at the White House in 1982, a journalist asked the press secretary to President Reagan:
“…does the President have any reaction to the announcement – the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, that AIDS is now an epidemic and have over 600 cases?” The spokesperson responded - “What’s AIDS?” To a question about whether the President, or anybody in the White House knew about the epidemic, the spokesperson replied, “I don’t think so” (History of HIV & AIDS in United States of America, n. d.).
The American people were scared because there was no information about how AIDS is transmitted, its symptoms, and how to protect yourself. Many people died from AIDS, due to the silence from Reagan’s Administration. Moreover, the governmental official usually exacerbated social tension. At the press conference in 1985, Reagan expressed his doubts about the possibility of attending school by children with AIDS. The first public demonstration was held on March 24, on Wall Street in New York. The demonstrators demanded access to AIDS treatment, public awareness to stop the spread of the disease, fighting discrimination of AIDS patients, and establishment of a national policy on AIDS. Moreover, the AIDS activists demanded from the public and the Congress to review the allocation of federal money for the treatment of HIV/AIDS disease critically. In 1987, HIV/AIDS positive people were banned from issuance of tourist visas and the right of residence in the U.S. The ban was lifted only in 2010 by President Barack Obama.
The main point of Reagan's policies was deregulation in country’s key sectors such as airlines, savings, and loan institutions. Reagan believed that ultimately the increased competition would benefit consumers by improving service and reducing prices. Reagan significantly cut taxes especially on high incomes. Nevertheless, this decision led to a greater stratification of the population: the rich became even richer, and the poor remained poor. After ten years of deregulation, country’s competitiveness in the world trade reduced. In addition, bureaucratic apparatus and associated costs significantly increased. These consequences of Reagan’s era affect the U.S. even today.
After September 11 attacks, the U.S. government decided to conduct a military operation in Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime since the country’s government refused to extradite the terrorists that were involved in the attacks in New York. In this war, the Americans had three principal goals: they were to kill bin Laden, destroy al-Qaeda, and overthrow the Taliban regime. In contrast to the Afghanistan operation, the war in Iraq was less justified. Iraq was accused of resuming the development of mass-destruction weapons and cooperation with international terrorist organizations, especially al-Qaeda. Nevertheless, the accusations were not confirmed. Military operation, hence, was criticized by politicians and public figures in several countries; its most principled opponents were Jacques Chirac (President of France), Gerhard Schroeder (Chancellor of Germany), and Vladimir Putin (President of Russia).
The U.S. history is full of significant events that had both positive and negative consequences. Analysis and consideration of such situations may help to prevent the recurrence of such events as Black Monday of 1987, and September 11 terrorist attacks, in the future. Unfortunately, the history shows that the government's decisions on this or that problem are not always correct and objective. Therefore, public should never stay aside. People need to react to the government’s decisions and express their opinion, in order to prevent any social and political crises.
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