Ronald Reagan and the Vietnam Era
The Vietnam Era was one of the toughest moments in American history, socially, politically, and economically. In this period, America required influential leaders and a leadership that would restructure America for the best, a leader who would be elected and emerge a ‘savior’ in the 1964 Presidential Campaign. “A Time for Choosing” was a speech given by Reagan Ronald, who later became the 40th president of the USA. The speech was instrumental not only for the recognition of Barry Goldwater and support of conservative ideology but also for strategic expression that developed Reagan’s public image. It resulted in earning a political spotlight, winning the gubernatorial seat for California, and later a President of the USA (Norton, 2015). Reagan targeted the farmers, workers of the Democratic Party, and all frustrated conservative majority, showing the alienations caused by the Democratic Party and offering a sense of hope and deliverance in the future. Reagan’s speech was an exposition of conservative concerns, the sufferings of the American people, and the future of America.
“A Time for Choosing” speech by Reagan was delivered at the most needed and vital time when Americans were facing economic, social, and political challenges. The Vietnam era was characterized by wars and conflict seen through the Cuban missile crisis and the Vietnam War. America was in crisis through increased discontent and dissent that resulted in protests and revolts from activists. Concisely, Americans needed a moving speech that highlighted and condemned the acts of the Democratic Party, offered changes, and hope for the future. Reagan’s speech covered what the angry and frustrated majority of people required (Norton, 2015). More importantly, the political events surrounding the crisis in America during this era included a presidential campaign that provided an essential platform for Reagan to persuade and convince the people on the vitality of Goldwater’s conservative ideologies and philosophy. Reagan’s speech addressed what the Americans wanted to hear and discuss during the Vietnam era.
In his speech, Reagan addressed two main arguments, where he used the condemnation strategy to increase persuasion and instigate emotional feedback among his audience for effectiveness and success. Primarily, he promoted the conservative philosophy that would be relayed by Goldwater, and he attacked the liberal ideology associated with President Johnson. While attacking President Johnson’s ideology, Reagan outlined menaces such as the planned economies, a government developing self-perpetuating programs, social security problems, governments using insurance programs to increase taxes, and foreign aid crisis at the expense of American’s freedom. Reagan felt that Johnson’s government infringed on American ideals and values when he stated, “The power of centralized government was the very thing that founding fathers sought to minimize…” (Norton, 2015). With such a government, they could not control things such as the economy without controlling people.
Regan further showed how the government passed programs among wheat farmers, despite being rejected, which resulted in decreased sales for the farmers but increased costs of bread, the government was spending more than its revenue, which resulted in massive debts, and using social security as a form of tax sourcing in the name of insurance. Reagan’s speech presented Johnson’s government as large, inefficient, and inept. He showed how taxpayers were exploited through the social security program offered by the government’s fiscal policies. Reagan stated, “The plain truth is that social security…And who pays for this?” (Norton, 2015). These claims created a picture of insufficient and deceitful government to Americans. He provided statistics, proofs, and related instances that formed the relevance of the title’s meaning. In turn, Reagan sold Goldwater’s conservative philosophy, which he used appeals to patriotism and encouraged people to choose the best options that would protect their freedom and individualism.
Reagan’s message was a call for Americans to choose not suppressing policies and make a stand, which provided the meaning of the rhetoric. Reagan unified people through motivational appeals in his speech, whereby, he vouched for Goldwater, the conservative ideology, and most importantly, the hope of America through Republican leadership.
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