December 17, 2009
Once upon a Time, before Americans forgot how to fight back

Don’t stop here, this has nothing to do with that Ayn Rand follower Arthur Silber but was found in a comment on Avedon Carol’s blog, and from those words quoted from an FDR speech, it’s quite easy to conclude that our current President and FDR have nothing, absolutely nothing in common, or so it seems to me right now.

Perhaps a second term will reveal a different perspective but with Republicans likely to be coming into the House and Senate in droves, that doesn’t seem likely. Those of us who vote Democrat long for the days when a speech like the one in the link would be spoken by a President in Office and we continue to vote that way because we have Hope — Hope that another Democratic President will deliver what FDR did. Obama seems to have failed the test miserably so far.

So we long for any President who would follow the path that FDR strode. Those of us old enough to have seen it happen know what Ronald Reagan ushered in. We see it every day in our streets filled with homeless people, in our dying and dead small towns, in our handicapped and mentally ill who too often fall through the cracks and who usually never get the help they need and in hundreds of places and people where and whom Reagan helped to fall from grace and economic security. Sure, he created a small economic elite, but at the price of a hundred people whose economic security was lost for every one person who gained a small fortune. The only thing that trickled down was piss.

Yes, we want FDR back. Perhaps that is too much to ask for. Nevertheless, the Republicans are far worse and I won’t ever vote for a party that seeks to create a permanent political and economic aristocracy. Perhaps all we can hope for is small steps, one at a time. Right now no further stimulus money is available.

That has been decreed and was allowed to happen ever since that cretin Nixon opened the doors to China, which I didn't and don’t disagree with. However, the situation was made intolerably bad by George W. Bush’s desire to lower taxes and then use borrowed money from China to finance his war and thereby break the economy, with Obama continuing in the charade, or so it seems at the moment. Now we have become the economic slaves of a small elite due to our national debt, on top of slaves to our own government as Chuck mentioned in the previous post. It is hard to be hopeful, yet dum spiro spero. Now, here’s the FDR that so many of our people seem to have forgotten:

And so it was to win freedom from the tyranny of political autocracy that the American Revolution was fought. That victory gave the business of governing into the hands of the average man, who won the right with his neighbors to make and order his own destiny through his own government. Political tyranny was wiped out at Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.

Since that struggle, however, man’s inventive genius released new forces in our land which reordered the lives of our people. The age of machinery, of railroads; of steam and electricity; the telegraph and the radio; mass production, mass distribution — all of these combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it a new problem for those who sought to remain free.

For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital — all undreamed of by the Fathers — the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.

There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small-businessmen and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.

It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.

The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor — these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, the capital of the small-businessmen, the investments set aside for old age — other people’s money — these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.

Those who tilled the soil no longer reaped the rewards which were their right. The small measure of their gains was decreed by men in distant cities.

Throughout the nation, opportunity was limited by monopoly. Individual initiative was crushed in the cogs of a great machine. The field open for free business was more and more restricted. Private enterprise, indeed, became too private. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise.

An old English judge once said: “Necessitous men are not free men.” Liberty requires opportunity to make a living — a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.

For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people's money, other people’s labor — other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.

Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people's mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended.

The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business. They granted that the government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.

Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.

These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.

The brave and clear platform adopted by this convention, to which I heartily subscribe, sets forth that government in a modern civilization has certain inescapable obligations to its citizens, among which are protection of the family and the home, the establishment of a democracy of opportunity, and aid to those overtaken by disaster.

But the resolute enemy within our gates is ever ready to beat down our words unless in greater courage we will fight for them.


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Posted by Buck Batard at December 17, 2009 08:14 AM
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Heartbreaking, isn't it? We thought we were voting for another FDR or JFK to rescue us, but instead we were tricked into voting for a closet neo-conservative who continues to lead us down the path to national destruction. There was a reason FDR got elected 4 times and JFK's picture hung on the wall in the homes of the poor around the world. The forces of evil that now control nearly everything in America, including the media, would like us to forget how compassionate, courageous, and loved those leaders were. That's why I'm pleased to see a post like this one, to remind us what it was like to have a president of the people. We the people still hold the real power, that's why the elite keep trying to hide their crimes.

Posted by: colonelgirdle on December 18, 2009 12:06 AM
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