Tuesday, October 18, 2011

FDR, "Class Warrior"

What this speech (which I spotted on Slog) shows very well that some things change and some things stay the same. We are in a similar economic situation to the one we were in during the 1930s, and the causes were the same as well. FDR even predicts that at some point the U.S. will be faced with a repeat of history, and says:
Any clear-thinking business men share that concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop -- if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called "normalcy" of the 1920's -- then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of fascism here at home.
(depending on how you define 'clear-thinking', you could argue that the part about "any clear-thinking business men" is pretty naive after what's happened)

So we've been through much of what is going on now - or at least our grandparents have. What is different is that these days, there are very few politicians, and no presidents, willing to take a stand (Sen. Bernie Sanders, not coincidentally the only liberal independent in the Senate, is an exception). What FDR says in the speech seems like common sense but it is not even close to being discussed.

Why is this so? I don't know enough about the political culture in the 1920s and 30s, but it seems to me that the right is much better organized now than they were than to oppose any kind of regulation and progressive change. The 1960s happened and they regrouped and decided to organize to ensure that the world would continue to work to protect their interests. Now the right managed to frame the entire national debate, with talking points like "class warfare".

Before anything can really change in our government and in our country, there has to be a shift so that this kind of discussion is "allowed". Hopefully the OWS movement will move us in that direction...

(transcript is at American Rhetoric)

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