“Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR
I loath to talk politics. I’ve always found discussing politics and finances with anyone other than my husband too uncomfortable. To me these are private things I hold close.
During this political season however, it’s very difficult to get away from it. The weight of our nations upcoming decision sits painfully on my soul. My mind continually wonders “how did we get here?”
This question has never been more prevalent in my mind than over the last several days as we have toured the beautiful Hyde Park New York National Park that recognizes and honors Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.
In preparation for our time in the Hudson River Valley we have been listening to the book Eleanor and Hick by Susan Quinn on Audible. This is a wonderful story mostly about Eleanor but also about Franklin that looks deeply into both their personal lives covering topics about each of them from infidelity to lesbianism that are still today often swept under the rug.
That alone is very interesting to me in contrast with politics today where every single personal item possible is dredged up and hashed over again in again by both parties adnauseum.
I look at the Roosevelt’s life, marriage and dedication to the people of the United States and clearly acknowledge without these two selfless people, we would be living in a very different world today.
Yet still three weeks before we elect a new President and 71 years after the death of FDR I sadly contemplate the question “how did we get here?”
We have dropped to a new low in our democracy where candidates and Americans alike take for granted the principles our country was founded on, the programs that were created to save our democracy during the Great Depression, and the sacrifices made by millions around the world during WWII.
Instead my Facebook page is daily flooded with dark and filthy comments and “jokes” about immigrants, poverty and the disabled. Many of the remarks being made by one of our Presidential candidates.
FDR, with Eleanor by his side, drove home from the first 100 days of his presidency, the constitutional rights of all American’s and the Founding Father’s vision that welcomed refugees from persecution around the world. How did we get here?
FDR’s famous 1941 speech known today as The Four Freedoms speech presented to congress and the American people for the first time the idea that every human being (not just Americans and not just the wealthy) was entitled to four things –
– the freedom of speech and expression
– the freedom to worship God in his own way
– the freedom from want and
– the freedom from fear
These freedoms where the focus during the Roosevelt years in the White House, particularly as we entered WWII and went on to become the basis of the passage of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted in part by Eleanor Roosevelt and adopted in 1948 after FDR’s death.
Eleanor said “When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?”
The question remains – when will we?
Human Rights should be our life’s work and focus, as it was for the Roosevelt’s. And yet today we often treat animals more humanely than people. How did we get here?
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site,the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site and The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library. I also enjoyed the book Eleanor and Hick by Susan Quinn. I recommend it all.
We all could use a reminder – a reminder on sacrifice, human rights, kindness. We could also all use a reminder on public service – Franklin and Eleanor were flawed human beings, just like each of us, but they worked tirelessly , despite their own family issues, problems, fears, weaknesses and mistakes to do the right thing each and everyday.
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little .” FDR
(Note – Feel free to comment as long as you can be kind and productive but I WILL NOT ALLOW any nasty or negative remarks on either Presidential candidate on my page. My page – my rules) .