What we can Learn From FDR

Thanks to reader MardyS for posting a link to the article What we can Learn From FDR by Harvey J. Kaye.

This is a long  article which I hesitated to read.  When I finally did read it, I was extremely glad I did.  Kaye points out how much of our history we have forgotten around WWII that involved the politics of that time.  Kaye explains a lot of that history to justify his claim as excerpted below.

Consider that in their otherwise moving works, the Greatest Generation’s tribunes, Ambrose, Brokaw, Bradley, Spielberg and Burns, make no mention of FDR’s pronouncement of the Four Freedoms. They utterly ignore how a president and people articulated anew the nation’s historic promise in “Freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear,” and went “All Out!” in their name not only to defend American democratic life, but also to enhance it. And they utterly ignore how a president and people not only saved the United States from economic destruction and political tyranny and proceeded to turn it into the strongest and most prosperous country on earth, but did so by harnessing the powers of democratic government and making America freer, more equal and more democratic than ever before in the process.

This is why we, in this generation, need to fight so hard to undo the erasure and distortion of our history.  The people who lived that history may remember the reasons they fought for what they did.  However, the people who were born decades after that history was over have no way of understanding it unless we keep on telling the story.  This is what Harvey Kaye and I believe is the great failing of the Liberals.

Some Liberals seem to act as if  everyone should just know why the Liberals fight for the things that they do fight for.  You can see that in Obama (no liberal himself) trying to fight an inside battle with Congress without realizing the importance of first reminding people why it is so important to fight for these things.  He negotiated with himself before confronting Congress, and completely forgot that carrying on the fight in public was more important than whatever minimal goals he could get Congress to agree to by bending over backwards to appease them.

It is not only about what you can achieve today, but it is also about setting the stage for what you hope to achieve tomorrow.  By that measure, President Obama has been a severe disappointment.  In my estimation, Hillary Clinton would be even a worse disaster.

The people who understand the need to fight very hard in public are Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to name two who might be on the next slate for President and Vice President.  It’s also not only that they fight publicly for these things, but I believe they really understand what the fight is about and they really mean what they say.  At the very least, they have not provided us with massive evidence that they really don’t have a clue.

Even as an inveterate skeptic, I’d rather vote for someone who might mean what they say than to vote for someone who has proven that they do not mean what they say.

Perhaps Obama and Clinton are so far to the right because their parents and grandparents did not realize at the time how important it was to pass on the history of what they had fought for.  Or perhaps it is a rebellion thing.  No generation can take at face value what the previous generation tells them.  This accounts for how easy it is to wipe history from our collective minds.  When we are more than two generations from that history, remembrance of it is completely gone.  With rebellion of one generation from the previous one, it is the grandparents who become responsible for passing the heritage on.  I cannot say I am doing a good job.


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