Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches Visions of America: The Reagan Era Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
Joe: [...] I need something big to lift me up. I mean, six years ago the world seemed in decline, horrible, hopeless, full of unsolvable problems and crime and confusion and hunger and... (1.5.63)
The US had a tough time in the 1970s, going through a period of serious economic decline. Unemployment was rising and things were really starting to suck. There was also a string of foreign policy nightmares. The Vietnam War ended without a victory, making an already incredibly unpopular war seem ultimately pointless. Basically, America had a serious case of low self-esteem. And then in walked a smiling Ronald Reagan with his message of hope.
Louis: Reaganite heartless macho asshole lawyers. (1.6.23)
While Joe is one of the most vocal supporters of conservative Reagan ideology, Louis is one of its most vocal detractors (making it pretty ironic that they get together at the end of the play). While polls showed that the majority of Americans supported Reagan's agenda, many liberals thought he was a total monster. One of the left's main gripes was that conservative policies were "heartless."
Martin: It's a revolution in Washington, Joe. [...] The dawning of a genuinely American political personality. Modeled on Ronald Wilson Reagan. (2.6.2)
Reagan was, and still is, a hero to many American conservatives. He was the face of a conservative revolution that is still being felt today. Every president after him has either fought against the ideology that Reagan popularized or tried to spread it. (Read more about it in our guide to The Regan Era.