|Franklin Roosevelt, Thirty-Second President of the United States|
Editor’s note: FDR’s first inaugural address is famous for the lines “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” But as we read farther along in that remarkable essay delivered on March 4, 1933, he points out that then “our common difficulties concern, thank God, only material things.”
Unfortunately, Mr. President we face a darkness beyond material things. The nation you fought to save in the 1930s and 1940s nation has been invaded in the 21st century. The enemy is hiding among us and using our freedoms to mask its evil.
Don’t dismiss this message and neo-McCarthyism. What is different now from McCarthy era fear is simply the fact, a domestic based terror cell can be triggered by a text message to kill instantly. Communists in 1950s did not band together and kill and maim our citizens on Main Street.
Now, as we fear the daily ambush from sadistic, faith-based band of murderers, who hide among us, we find our national leadership in gridlock on how to best to lead us in the common defense of our land.
FDR’s first inaugural address is a blueprint on taking action in dark times that face our nation.
He pointed out bold leadership and the courage to act must happen now in order to defeat this latest foe. In this campaign season we must turn aside regional pettiness, party stubbornness and the intramural gamesmanship so we may face the truth.
And that truth is we are at war.
Now we must have strong, decisive leadership to defeat terror here and abroad.
We cannot win without unified leadership from the President and Congress. FDR, at least, had a supportive Congress.
We need to move from “how” to “here’s how.”
This nation is not short of great men and women, but it is woefully short of legislative leadership and to our shame our Congress today stands as a sentinel frozen in fear. In 1933, FDR said we must chase the money changers from the temple. Today, we must chase the inept from Capitol Hill and replaced them with leaders worthy of the trust placed upon them.
Vote this November for a candidate who is fearless in his/her willingness to put nation above party. And, if your party or candidate doesn’t win there is no time for whining. Step forward or step aside.
The following is the closing of Franklin Roosevelt’s first inauguration address.
For the entire speech click: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057/
...In the field of world policy I would dedicate this Nation to the policy of the good neighbor—the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others—the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a world of neighbors.
If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we can not merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective. We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and property to such discipline, because it makes possible a leadership which aims at a larger good. This I propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will bind upon us all as a sacred obligation with a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife.
With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems.
Action in this image and to this end is feasible under the form of government which we have inherited from our ancestors. Our Constitution is so simple and practical that it is possible always to meet extraordinary needs by changes in emphasis and arrangement without loss of essential form. That is why our constitutional system has proved itself the most superbly enduring political mechanism the modern world has produced. It has met every stress of vast expansion of territory, of foreign wars, of bitter internal strife, of world relations.
It is to be hoped that the normal balance of executive and legislative authority may be wholly adequate to meet the unprecedented task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure.
I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption.
But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis—broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.
For the trust reposed in me I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time. I can do no less.
We face the arduous days that lie before us in the warm courage of the national unity; with the clear consciousness of seeking old and precious moral values; with the clean satisfaction that comes from the stern performance of duty by old and young alike. We aim at the assurance of a rounded and permanent national life.
We do not distrust the future of essential democracy. The people of the United States have not failed. In their need they have registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I take it.
In this dedication of a Nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us. May He guide me in the days to come.
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