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Part I. Comparison and contrast the leadership and accomplishments of  the four two-term Presidents since 1980– Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush

Part I.

Comparison and contrast the leadership and accomplishments of  the four two-term Presidents since 1980– Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barrack Obama

It is human nature to praise the dead despite the criticisms they faced when alive. In his death, Ronald Reagan was eulogized as the greatest president of the US post-Watergate Era and a man of the year who influenced our lives and news for good or ill. However, the speeches cannot away the fact that other presidents have performed way better that Ronald Reagan. Although Bill Clinton had his fair share of inadequacies such as impeachment concerning Monica Lewinsky, he performed better than Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Barrack Obama in economy, foreign policy and health care.

While four-two term presidents have Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Barrack Obama have their strength which propelled them to be elected, Bill Clinton still come of top as the president who performed better. A comparison of Reagan and Clinton in economy perspective shows that the later improved America. Hayward (2010) argues that Reagan implemented the biggest tax cut since the John F. Kennedy administration. On the other hand, Bill Clinton administration was marked with biggest increase in tax in the history of the country (Soni, 2013). Maybe one would ask why tax increase was good while tax cut was bad. The major talking point is that Clinton tax increase policy targeted the wealthy and in the long run, it enabled the country to increase its revenues. On the other hand, Reagan tax cut favored the rich as

they paid low tax while accumulating more wealth. In other words it did not reduce the gap between the poor and the wealthy.

Also, Clinton was able to reduce the huge budget deficit the country was facing in his era compared to Reagan. Hayward (2010) points out that at the end of his term he created a budget surplus of $63 billion, reduction of unemployment from 7.5 percent to 4 percent, 18.7 million of new jobs and increase in home ownership by 67.6 percent. Tax cuts by Ronald Reagan led to increase in budget deficits by from 26 percent to 41 percent between 1980 and 1988, federal debts increase from $999 billion to $2.86 trillion, and a decrease in Government revenues by 2.6 percent (Esno, 2017). The reason for this is because government revenues and budget depends on the tax and lowering majorly if the country is having budget deficits means reduction in revenues. However, both Clinton and Reagan’s policies increased employment rates. In particular, the unemployment during Ronald Reagan decreased from 7.5% to 5.4 percent (Esno, 2017). Compared to Clinton administration, Reagan presidency yielded 16 million jobs, 2 million lower than what the former generated. Generally, Clinton administration had better economic policies.

         Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Barrack Obama should have been impeached due to their Iran/Contra and invasion of Afghanistan. Although, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Barrack Obama had a better domestic policies, their poor foreign policies and international relations compared to those of Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama put American at loggerhead with other countries. For instance, Ronald Reagan is implicated in Libya bombings, Iran/Contra and fueling Cold War. George W. Bush launched the invasion of Afghanistan and invasion of Iraq while Barrack Obama helped toppled the Muammar Gaddafi Government (Leffler, 2013).  Iran/Contra scandal tool place in the Reagan second term where senior officials in the

administration are believed to have facilitated sale of weapons to Iran that was under weapon embargo. Reagan administration planned to use funds from such sale to finance Contras, a rebel group in Nicaragua (Troy, 2009). The action was of the Reagan administration was wrong on two fronts. First, it violated Boland Amendment which the congress banned government from financing Contras. Secondly, the action of the administration breached the international law on sovereignty. According to international law, countries have equal sovereignty and no country is allowed to attack and fund activities that interfere with governance of another country (Slomanson, 2011). On the other hand, George W. Bush put the America at war with countries from the East particular the Iraq and Afghanistan when he invaded these countries in the context that the US was hunting down terrorist groups.

Although the law allows a country to use preemptive force to attack another that is threatening to attack you, such law should not be misused to attack another state for political reasons. Nevertheless, Pressman (2009) points out that George W. Bush just did that in Afghanistan and Iraq in the disguise that they were posing threat to the US.  Just like Bush Obama had been strongly condemned in invading Libya using NATO forces. Montopoli (2011) reiterates that Obama action led to the killing of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi therefore destabilizing the country to date.  Bill Clinton foreign policy recommended for attacking Bosnia in an effort to halt the war that was taking place and to adopt accord (Soni, 2013). Based on the foreign policies, Bill Clinton is ranked the best president followed by Ronald Reagan, Barrack Obama and George W. Bush. Therefore Bush would have been impeached for putting the list of America at risk of terrorism attacks.

Part II

Discussing the United States between 1980 and Charlottesville, some have maintained that the most important issue in the United States “is the one no one really wants to talk about,” i.e. race and racism.  Are they right?  Why or why not?

Color-line is term that has been use in reference to racial segregation that has been deeply rooted in America. Even though it is a challenge that started way back during slavery and many thought that it would end after various efforts that had been put in place by activists it still existed in 1900s. It is the reason why W.E.B. Du Bois stated in his book “The Souls of Black Folk” that the problem of the Twentieth-Century is the problem of the color-line”. True to the words of W.E.B. Du Bois race and racism was still much visible in American beyond 1980s, as witnessed in Charlottesville (Doline, 2011). However, W.E.B. Du Bois right in assertion that American government and citizens that one no one really wants to talk about. The reason for keeping quiet about race and racism was to enable the whites use some concept such as technology and globalization to dominate the globe with no resistance.

The Civil War was meant to bring freedom and set the slaves free. However, Southern States passed laws referred to as Jim Crow which made almost unattainable for Black Americans to enjoy opportunities that white American had (Doline, 2011).  On the same note, Asian race and Native American were also discriminated against by the whites. As Dubois observed it at the start of twentieth century, the biggest breakthrough would have been have been if the government resolved the inequalities based on color and race that existed but they missed the opportunity. Doline (2011) contends that the inequalities along the color line that the country failed to address include education, public accommodation and employment among others. Also, the constitution through articles which prohibits discrimination based on color and race

has failed to protect black making the minority to question whether the problem will ever be solved. Perhaps, it’s the lack of goodwill from the people who are charged with responsibility of implementing the constitution. Maybe the failure is based on the fact the judiciary and other law enforcement agencies are headed by most whites and the white supremacist deeply rooted in them making it impossible to crack whip on white who discriminate other races.

Race and racism in the period between 1980s and Charlottesville has been expressed in different ways. In 1980s, racism was experienced by denying black Americans equal opportunity in education, rights of voting, equal opportunity in employment and equality in public places (Doline, 2011). For instance, African-Americans were not allowed in some school that was considered as for whites. Similarly, despite voting opportunity provide by the constitution, African Americans and Asians were still denied rights to vote their leaders. The period from 1980s saw a number of African American being absorbed into the workforce. However, their positioning in workplace was limited to workers, Laborers and junior management position. On the other hand, whites occupied top management positions in the organization.

Charlottesville rally is a depiction that racism has never been addressed in the US.

Charlottesville rally was a protest of white supremacist that took place in Charlottesville, the US. Politico (2019) states that the protest was instigated by the elimination of stature of Robert Lee and later named an Emancipation Park. The protesters considered themselves as superiors and identified far-right wing, white nationalist and new-Nazis (PBS, 2018). Charlottesville rally will remain as the face of racism in the 21st century.

The problem of racism has been expressed as an institutional arrangement, processes and structure that perpetuates and promotes the ideology thus making it hard to be eradicated. The media, popular culture, educational system, legislative bodies, economic structures and the courts have significantly contributed to the perpetuation and promotion of the systemic racism. Transnational agencies like the World Bank, World Trade Organization and International Monetary Fund and their practices portray prophetic perception of DU Bois concerning the intersectional class, race and the interest of the white supremacists over the interest of the colored people.

Besides, globalization process has its origin from the classical era of imperialist growth. Advanced technology has also been used to by the whites to increase their capacity for coercive homogenization and domination in the US, with the country being the only superpower (Doline, 2011). From Du Bois point of view, with globalization, no matter is how it is disguised in relation to democracy and spread of technology and civilization, it still remains a project for color line (Doline, 2011). Cross of boarders to bring what is perceived to be superior products is a way of imposing white supremacy in the world. Therefore, globalization depicts itself as a project of racism to dominate cultural, economically and political with whites being the paradigm and central power. In such arrangement, whites are beneficiaries while black Americans are bearers of the cost burdens and are victims.

The color-line is created when the whites problematize the meaning, worth, existence, color and status of the black people. Du Bois address this problematization in the autobiographical work called “Dusk of Dawn” claiming that his had its value and the only it is only valuable since it formed the problem (Doline, 2011). Nevertheless, that issue was that is he kept on thinking, the major problem of other

countries continued to manifest. To problematize live and existence of individuals, whites develops social identity known as race.

Part III

How well does the “clash of cultures” theme describe the period from 1974 to the present?

          The period beginning 1974 is considered a historic moments because it was marked rise in clash of culture between traditionalists and non-traditionalists. Before 1974, American was dominated by “Traditionalists” who favored cultural conservatism and maintained that abortion, gay rights, busing and affirmative action were against the culture of America. Also, transition of power in 1974 between Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford made people believe that cultural conservatism would prevail (Melvin, 2011). The reason for this is because Republic ideologies majorly conservative about family values such as abortion, gay rights, feminism, and affirmative action. However, that was not the case as the period saw rise of the non-traditionalists and battles of family values between them and traditionalists. The differences in ideologies in this era have been referred as clash of cultures. A case in point of clash of culture happened in supreme when the judge appointed by Gerald Ford took a different stand from that of the appointing authority.

Gerald Ford was conservative and his opinion leaned towards social ideology. Zake (2015) affirms that he used his ideologies to make government appointments implying that administration could be used to influence social problem. For instance, while Gerald Ford was under pressure to from the Democrats to settle for a liberal as the Supreme Court judge, he appointed a moderate conservative John Paul Stevens to head the Supreme Court (Kalman, 2010). The objective of such appointment was to create conservative ideologies within the courts. Presidents always want to be

powerful and there source of influence begins at the courts where they can control the outcomes.

 Nonetheless, the Supreme Court justice disappointed Gerald Ford with his dissenting judgment that went against conservative philosophies. Hayward (2010) posits that in the initial years Stevens held a record as conservative judge when he brought back capital punishment and opposed admission on the basis of race in a case between Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 versus University of California. In Rehnquist Court which was viewed as pro conservative, Stevens teamed up with liberal judges to offer dissenting judgment about outlawing abortion and gay right. An example is the abortion case Wade versus Roe in which Justice Stevens upheld that women must be allowed access to abortion (Hayward, 2010). In recently in 2007 Stevens dissent the ruling that prohibits abortion while stating that banning abortion place the health or a woman in danger. Therefore, Stevens’ new stand on issue of family values and disagreement with Gerald Ford stand shows that American has become polarized overtime.

          America has witnessed increased polarization due to deep political allegiance between Republicans and Democrats. America has become irreversibly divide along ideological and party line in what is referred to as BLUE and RED areas (Geher, 2018). The division is deeper that when presidential election is called parties look at their strength based on blue and red states. Red has been used to represent republicans while blue represent Democrats. As a result of polarization, democrats feel more secure when they stay near people who belong to their party. The same is replicated with Republicans (Pierre, 2018). In the past, the map of states shows that Americans subscribing to Republic and Democratic ideologies did not have a problem living together. Recently, the maps shows people who are isolated based on parties. The

division is based on perception that the opposing party is taking the party to the wrong direction. Pierre (2018) established that 66% conservative republicans thought that policies of Democratic Party threatened the well-being of the country.  On the other hand, 50% of liberal Democrats believed that Republican policies destroy the welfare of America (Pierre, 2018). Such believes make it difficult for people from the opposite party to sit down and debate.

Theme of clash of culture describes the period of 1974 to present as one which has that has been marked by change of technology and exposure. In the 20th century, people were more confined within their settings to an extent that they thought their culture is superior (New York Times, 2019). It is from such situation that traditionalists find it difficult to go against their cultural conservatives nature. Proliferation of the media in the recent times has exposed American to other cultures and ideologies thus influencing their reasoning. News in the new media has influenced how people argue about abortion, feminism, gay rights, and human rights. To this extent clash of culture can be viewed as apt because it expands our reasoning and new ideas. On the converse it has intensified polarization in the US. Competition among media means thy dwell much on controversial debates such as families which attract more viewers (New York Times, 2019). As people are being fed on conflicts they have learned to take in agreeable news while tuning out those that dissonant to them.

The period between 1974 to present is better described by the recommended theme, clash of cultures.  The word culture is apt as theme because it incorporates all elements of polarization including ideologies, technology and media.

References

Doline, S.  (2011). Du Bois and the Question of the Color Line: Race and Class in the Age of Globalization. Tandfor Journals

Esno, T. (2017). Reagan’s Economic War on the Soviet Union. Diplomatic History. 42 (2), 281–304.

Geher, G. (2018). The Polarization of America. Psychology Today.

Hayward, S.F. (2010). The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980–1989. Crown Forum

Kalman, L. (2010). Gerald Ford, The Nixon Pardon, And The Rise Of The Right.Cleveland State Law Review, 58(2), 349-366

Klein, E. (2013).Comparing Obama and Reagan’s economic records. Washington Post;

Leffler, M.P. (2013). The Foreign Policies of the George W. Bush Administration: Memoirs, History, Legacy. Diplomatic History, 37 (2), 190–216.

Montopoli, B. (2011). Is Obama’s Libya offensive constitutional? CBS News

Melvin, S. (2011). A Companion to Richard M. Nixon. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

New York Times. (2019).Political Polarization. Retrieved March 8, 2019 from

Obama, B. (2007). The Speech That Made Obama President (6 minutes). Retrieved March 8, 2019 from

Pierre, J. (2018). Why Has America Become So Divided? Retrieved March 8, 2019 from

PBS. (2018). Documenting Hate: Charlottesville. Retrieved March 8, 2019 from

Pressman, J. (2009). Power without Influence: The Bush Administration’s Foreign Policy Failure in the Middle East. International Security. 33 (4), 149–179

Politico. (2019). What Charlottesville Changed. Retrieved March 8, 2019 from

Soni, J. (2013). 10 Things You Definitely Didn’t Know About Bill Clinton. The Huffington Post.

Slomanson, W. R. (2011).  Fundamental Perspectives on International Law,6Ed.  Cengage Learning

Troy, G. (2009). The Reagan Revolution: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.

Zake, I. (2015). Goals and tactics of President Gerald Ford’s ethnic politics. Nationalities Papers 43(6), 944–961

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