Americans have experienced a crucial evolution, beginning from the period of the Reagan regime till the presidency of Obama. The essay discusses the two main turning points of that period, which include fostering for democracy and revival of the federal system. The effects of the AIDS epidemic which have had a severe impact on the American society during the 1980s period are also discussed in the essay. It will also address the effects of the Reagan era on our daily lives and, finally, the rationale behind the 9/11 attacks and the reaction from the international community.
Advocating for Democracy
Reagan was the 40th President of the United States of America. During his reign, his main objective was fostering for democracy not only in the U.S. but also in the whole world. He advocated for the freedom of the press, unions and freedom of choice. His quest for democracy, which has led to the formation of the National Endowment for democracy organization in 1983, experienced tremendous results in the fight against communism and totalitarianism. Furthermore, this has led to the end of the cold war and a peaceful coexistence of not only the European countries but also of the Soviet society. Economically, the relationship between democracy and growth is a non-linear but win-win type. Due to the embracement of democracy during the Reagan period, Americans have experienced tremendous investments and equitable distribution of resources in the government expenditure which have resulted into the improvement of the economy. Such a relationship is a nonlinear one since there is no direct relationship between the two.
Economic growth has also been spanned by democracy since it allows individuals to plan for their resources and be independent from the influence of legal factors (Bessette& Pitney, 2011). Politically, democracy has an influence on the quality of governance of any given state. Democracy helps in containing political corruption in governance. Thus, it is crucial in promoting a transparency in governance as is indicated by the America’s current state of governance. Culturally, democracy has the effect of improving people’s wellbeing. It encourages people to participate in decision making that can ultimately lead to political development and economic growth.
Establishment of the Federal System
In the period of 1930s and 1940s, Americans experienced great economic recession, which had a significant effect on their federal system that has made all powers shift to Washington. The concern in fighting the Second World War has also facilitated this. However, with the takeover of Reagan, America went back to its federal system that had devolved power to the states; this has led to the generation of new ideas on housing and the education reform agenda. Economically, this federal system has led to more investments since it gives individuals the power to make their own decisions. Politically, the devolution of power has led to improved governance that, in turn, has improved the national security.
The issue of security gives the factual reason to start the war with Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9/11 attacks. The rationale of the war was dealing with the terrorists through vandalizing their base in Afghanistan so as to increase the security assurance. Another reason for the war was to end the Taliban regime and create democracy in the target countries. However, the international community opposed these attacks, claiming that the U.S was not attacked by the individual countries.
The HIV/AIDS Pandemic in the1980s
Ignorance of HIV/AIDS at the beginning of the1980s marked the tribulations that the Americans went through due to this menace. Different groups carried opposing views in regard to the threat. The pandemic unfolded itself in a manner that was destined to cause panic in the society; initially AIDS was considered as a disease that targeted deviant groups in the society. It was punctuated by the number of gay people that died of the disease. The whole picture of the disease, however, changed when it emerged that the disease could be transmitted not only through sexual intercourse, but through blood transfusion as well as through the contact with infected blood. Such facts created vast panic among the Americans; the people yearned to know what to do in order not to be infected by the disease.
The Reagan administration was shaken by this pandemic. It was important for the people to be reassured of their health. It was not easy given the different opinions that different groups had in regard to the disease. A report made by the Center for Disease Control, which was released in 1985, showed that 800,000 Americans had already been infected and called for an immediate reaction. Reagan administration reacted quickly to this report by making HIV/AIDS pandemic a key healthy issue, which meant that more resources had to be channeled into curbing the menace. Reagan’s administration later made it clear to the people that the only way out of AIDS was to embrace the following: abstinence, monogamy and correct and consistent use of condoms. Such measures were advocated despite the criticism on the use of condoms as promotion of sexual promiscuity in the society (Troy, 2009).
Contemporary Effects of Reagan’s Deregulation Movement
Reagan’s administration has received both praises and admonitions on a number of its policies. One of the policies that have been vastly criticized, especially by the Democrats, is deregulation movement. Obviously, President Reagan believed that in order to end economic recession inherited by his administration, there was a need for less government interference in the economy. Thus, this led to what is famously known as Reaganomics. In the beginning of his administration, deregulation resulted in unemployment and an increased budget deficit. However, he was able to prove how wrong his critiques were when he spurred immense economic growth from 1983 onwards. However, the deregulation movement cannot be blamed for the current economic problems experienced by the Americans today. Though, George W. Bush, who took over the Reagan’s rule, was blamed for the greater economic meltdown that was inherited by Obama’s administration (Samuelson, 2009).
A lot can be said about the United States, considering the period between Reagan’s Revolutions through President Obama. The most notable historical turning points during this period are the growth in democratic space and increased threat from terrorism activities. The AIDS pandemic is also recognized as an issue that threatened Americans in the 1980s. However, the Americans have gone through these ups and downs showing a great solidarity.