Huddled around the radio, we heard Roosevelt’s weekly Fireside Chats. He called us “Friends and fellow Americans”. I hear his voice -- steady, educated, upper class drawl. He said, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” I saw my parents’ faces, and felt safer. In simple words he shared the nation’s progress.
The New Deal. NRA; WPA ; TVA New jobs on highways, bridges, schools, museums, parks, dams, conservation overcoming the Dust Bowl. Programs for artists, writers, musicians, teachers, women, young people, children. Men came home with paychecks. He didn’t start wars and send young men to fight; he created the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corp to maintain and beautify the nation’s outdoors everywhere.
He stood up to Hitler in 1941; in 1945 ended the war we’d not begun. Peace brought fair labor laws, unions, full employment, home ownership. Wealthy himself, he’d made the rich pay their share, which had powered this recovery. Humble, crippled by polio, he governed from his wheelchair and was overwhelmingly re-elected three times.
Yes, this nation was riddled with prejudice, but becoming aware, fighting for each others’ rights, for wildlife, air, water, forests, even other nations, we were decent.
The rich found ways to divide and conquer through laws to impede voting, deny rights, pass tax burdens downward. They’re undoing the work of 85 years, herding us toward fascism, led by another wealthy President who wants us to fight each other, who controls the nuclear button but does not seem to control himself.