FDR’s America Vs. Trump’s America

The American way is basically a positive tone that rises above our negative, hardwired, xenophobic tribal impulses that says that our kind and we are good and that their kind and they are bad. It’s a concept that has always been beyond the comprehension of the crude ones that live among us — the KKK and their kind.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was scheduled to make a speech on April 13, 1945, the date of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. But he died a few days prior, leaving a copy of his speech at his Warm Springs cottage, which reads in part as so:

“Today science has brought all the different quarters of the globe so close together that it is impossible to isolate them one from the other. Today we are faced with the preeminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships — the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together and work together, in the same world at peace…. The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with an active faith.”

Contrast these uplifting last words of Roosevelt with the poisonous opening words of Trump’s venture into politics:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” Trump said in June 2015.

Within these to small samples of words we see Roosevelt’s politics of hope vs.Trump’s unAmerican politics of fear.

If anyone has ever contributed to making America great it was Roosevelt NOT the Donald. When FDR succeed to the presidency America was in the midst of its worse period of economic collapse, bought on first by Republican inspired greed and then sustained by Republican paralyzing fear.

FDR faced two enormous challenges — prepare the isolationist bent American public to fight an enormous world war while trying to pull the country out of an economic ditch. To make a very long and complex story short, he laid the foundation for a grand military victory and the building of a great period of prosperity for all Americans.

It is no accident that Trump chose to be a Republican. The Republican creed is I think we have gone far enough, let’s stop. The Democrats on the other hand say we have come a long way, but let’s see what’s around the next corner.

The saddest part of Trump’s bull shit is that when he says he wants to make America great again, being totally devoid of a general curiosity, he hasn’t a clue as to what made America great in the first place, and it sure wasn’t via his politics of fear and hate, a bad imitation of past European dictators.

But his style is certainly in keeping with some of the Republican philosophies that have repeatedly put the lives of average Americans in jeopardy. The super wealthy Roosevelt by all normal reasoning should have been a Republican. But he had a fondness and concern for the common man, and so to the dismay of many of his social friends who deemed him a traitor to his class, FDR acted as president of all Americans. This is something that the Donald goes out of his way not to do.

But in any event it was Roosevelt’s foresight that laid the foundation for the huge American middle class of the second half of the Twentieth Century and the safety net of Social Security and dozens of other government programs that protect average citizens. Now many Americans don’t like to admit it, especially well off Americans, that the public sector has always been beneficial to the success of the private sector as well as the middle class.

There is this selfish human tendency to approve of government’s role when it helps us and to see it as wasteful when it helps others. The GOP has built an entire political empire upon playing up the latter aspect of government. It is always crying out that because it isn’t perfect its parts need to be trimmed or done away with. Or it cries out about the cost of government rules and regulations.

Everything good comes with a cost — everything. If for instance rules upon Wall Street cost some billionaires a few millions less in earnings each year, but then millions of average Americans don’t lose their homes or are thrown into bankruptcy, I say dammed the inconvenient cost of the regulations, keep them in place and strong.

Now of course Trump who can’t see past the end of his nose concerning of any of this complexity — after causing his own inexpiable damage to the nation — eventually goes along with the GOP’s short sighted policies that place stress on average citizens and even themselves at times. But after all, for some, ideology is sacred.

The bottom line is that at the moment American is saddled with a backward looking and quickly fading party (so many are leaving that sinking ship) lead by a sadistic moron with no idea about what has made America great, but instead plays to others who also have no idea of what it was that has made America great. Hint, it wasn’t red caps.

Hopefully the Democrats will soon find another FDR.


Thank to historian Jon Meacham, from whom I borrowed a few words and ideas.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!