Columnwhoring: Can We Dig Up FDR And Run Him Again?


When Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office, the American economy was on its knees. Thousands were poor, homeless, unemployed, without hope. They wanted someone to blame; they wanted someone to answer for their fate. And this is what Roosevelt told them:

“If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we cannot merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective. We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and property to such discipline, because it makes possible a leadership, which aims at a larger good. This I propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will bind upon us all as a sacred obligation with a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife.

“With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems.”

Roosevelt recognized that people feared their own powerlessness -— fear, itself -— and that they did not know their own strength. And his government gave them a way to discover that strength and use it to combat the problems they faced —- instead of blaming, instead of throwing up their hands in despair.

It’s not too late to begin a New Deal on the Gulf Coast. It’s not too late to make rebuilding part of our nation the mission of all of us.

It’s not too late to fill New Orleans’ empty streets with an army holding hammers instead of guns.

It’s not too late for our government to, once again, lead us, to remind us there is nothing we are not capable of, if we only remember who we are and what we’ve done before.

As Roosevelt said, “These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.”


6 thoughts on “Columnwhoring: Can We Dig Up FDR And Run Him Again?

  1. In 1990 I boarded the White House elevator with Secret Service agents on each side and in front of me. I commented on how small the elevator was and one of the Secret Service agents said “I don’t think Roosevelt’s wheelchair was as big as yours.”
    I realized I was in an elevator car once ridden by FDR. My face, filled with smile, radiated awe. I said “I’m on the same elevator FDR used.” The agents gave me the “you’re no FDR” look but I was unfazed.
    FDR held tight to the divine light within him as he passed through times of darkness and despair. At his lowest point he realized what others saw as weakness was his strength. His disability made him stronger after brushing against death. He accepted that he couldn’t change his physical limits but he could manage fear.
    As I sat in C. Boyden Gray’s office and he got the thumbs up from John Sununu, I felt FDR’s presence in the room. As Boyden Gray made the telephone call to House Minority Leader Robert Michaels asking him to get House members to back off limiting amendments to the ADA I was stunned. It was a day for me that will live in infamy.
    I said nothing on that day other than to introduce myself. My purpose in the White House was fulfilled by the amount of metal it takes to build an electric wheelchair and to represent distant and diverse geography. I lived in Alaska at the time.
    I and thousands of people with disabilities throughout the country gave months and years of our lives to get the Americans with Disabilities Act passed. Fear would only overwhelm us if we let it.
    If FDR were alive today he would be a Blogger because CBS and MSNBC wouldn’t simulcast his “fireside chats.” He would use his bully pulpit to stir the hearts and souls of the masses to action in rebuilding New Orleans.
    Another President with a disability (alcoholism) inhabits the White House today but he knows nothing about rebuilding because he has dedicated his life to being hell-bent on destruction.

  2. Great, great post. More folks should use the great example of FDR a member of the elite who took his duty as a citizen with the utmost seriousness.
    He is a model for us all.
    Are ya listening Obama, Edwards, Clinton, Gore, Richardson?

  3. Amendment XXII, in part:

    No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, …But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress

    So yes, FDR could run again. Well, Zombie-FDR.

  4. but don’t forget eleanor was a big part of what made him good.
    now a bully has the bully pulpit.
    it’s obscene. that’s all he is. a blight on the office.

  5. Or as another bunch of pretty smart guys put it “…we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Comments are closed.