Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fear Itself

There are certain mysteries I cannot begin to fathom--like the workings of the financial world and how things can suddenly "fall" and destroy what once was seen as permanent. Then again, perhaps I do understand, since everything is prone to destruction, and, as Yeats put it,

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world . . . ."

But it's not only the words of Yeats flitting through my head today. I have been wishing that the spirit of FDR, plain and practical and inspirational, would sit on my shoulder and explain it all. So I've summoned up some of his quotes as well. It wasn't so long ago in our history that Roosevelt himself was counseling people consumed by a Depression and assuring them, now famously, that they had "nothing to fear but fear itself."

What else should we remember, FDR?

"The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the goverment."

"We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon."

"Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country."

Thanks, President Roosevelt.

2 comments:

Eric Mayer said...

FDR was a real president. The last quote is especially good. The financial disasters we're seeing are pretty much a predictable result of the dismantling of the kind of safeguards he put in place.

Julia Buckley said...

Yes--but a horrifying result. It's things like this that the powerful will address with platitudes and the helpless will address by struggling to provide dinner each night.