Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Different views of Reagan

Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States from 1981 to 1989; he was also an actor and a Republican. During his administration employment increased, inflation was curbed, and the strengthened national defences. But as with everything in this era, there are different opinions on the subject that are broadcasted on the internet, just waiting to be read by those who take the time to search for them. There are websites that express a hagiography of sorts, which is defined as a critical study on the lives of saints.
http://reagan2020.us/about.asp is one such website, that sees the glory of Ronald Reagan and shines a light on it. In the opening sentence of the About Reagan 2020 page, there is the sentence 'the first and last modern Conservative President of the United States.' It is proclaimed that he brought down the Iron Curtain making the world a safer place. This entirely places complete credit onto Reagan, it was under his administration, with other individuals down the line being involved and yet completely forgotton under the famous name that is Reagan. The website Reagan 2020, in their own words, represents the 'permanent campaign advocating individual, family and community rights and responsibilities in acts of self-governance, as set forth by our founders.' They appear to believe that Reagan encompases everything that the 'Republic's Constitution' put forward and acts for the freedom of the individual. There are no criticisms of him as an individual, or his administration, the writers of the website view him through rose tinted glasses. The representation of Reagan is a bias view that does not allow for a more negative opinion, it creates an image that idolises him and places him on a political pedestal of fighting off the left.
This view of course is not universally accepted, for on the Website Slate, that is known for its critical viewpoints of politicians, including scathing cartoons. http://www.slate.com/id/2101842/ There is an article on Ronald Reagan that holds him in very low regard. The author Christopher Hitchens writes the Stupidity of Ronald Reagan as the sub-heading. In the first paragraph he states that he himself is a 'lefty', and although the end of the Soviet Union occured during the Reagan administration to which all were glad, the Reagan years were not all they were cracked up to be. He was historically inaccurate, stating that South Africa had stood beside America in every war, this was incorrect for they had sided with the Germans during the world war. This statement Hitchens appears to take as an insult, for as President it is assumed that there would be a source of knowledge behind him that woud point him on the right path, or atleast give him the correct information. To have a President who makes mistakes such as thins does not lend confidence to the nation, and it adds fuel to the fire of those on the Left who do not politically agree with him. Such as Hitchens. There may be a political ideology vendetta against Reagan, which is evident in the words and the way that he forms his argument that it is apparent that there is certainly a case for this, he overstates things, and so bitterness can be seen. In this way this article is the opposite of the rose tinted glasses, but it assumes that a Democratic administration would have been a better one, however, it is easy for this to be said, for hindsight allows for alot of things, things which cannot be changed.
The medium between these two examples would be a balanced argument that states both his failures and his achievements, however, there is always a sense of ideology that does not allow for a completely objective account. There will always be either a rose tinted view, or a damned view. I read both and I find them to be well written, but unrealistic. They are a portion of a society that hold a similar view and have decided to place their thoughts on the internet, they have put forward their arguments and they have used evidence that suits them. But those opinions matter to those that they are writing for, in this case either supporters of Reagan, or critics of him.

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