An English In Kentucky


















Wednesday August 21st 2019Tim Candler9


    Roosevelt's speech at his first inauguration, which was in 1933, was in my view a really fine description of what the Democratic Party should be. In the speech, there was so much more to inspire a mind than his first few lines, "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." The speech is long and later it goes on to these lines, "Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing."  Then in the 1990's a Democratic Party President called Bill Clinton just gave all that up with four pathetic words "It's the economy, stupid." I've had an even poorer opinion of Rhodes Scholars ever since, Cecil John Rhodes was a white supremacist, a colonialist, a business man and politician who got rich raping parts of Africa, and not so long ago girls didn't qualify for a scholarship to spend a post graduate year at Oxford University from the Rhodes' foundation. But it's money to spend a year in the City of Oxford.


     Roosevelt's 1933 inaugural speech was partly written by a man called Raymond Moley. When Moley finally achieved a degree of fame in Washington DC he quit the whole idea of supporting Roosevelt's New Deal policies and soon enough became a very Conservative Republican whose punditry was eagerly anticipated by readers of such media out lets as the National Review. Egregious Mole-Type behavior in my view.  How, I ask myself, could anyone who might have contributed ideas like those in that inaugural speech, within less than a year choose to work toward the destruction of their consequences. As usual it takes years of disappointment to finally get a grasp on the truly unattractive answer. But at least the answer explains that part of our being that rejects possibilities, first with a search for evidence, then just makes stuff up. Critical to my mind, is the excitement around the extent to which the first US settlers in the colony of Virginia learned how to successfully grow, harvest and process the cash crop of Cotton from African slaves. The point being it would a powerful change to a narrative, what else did the knowledge of enslaved people make possible and why should they not be fully credited in the story of a nation. Why would anyone have a problem with it? In there, where the problem is, lies the heart of conservatism, change is a slippery slope, it spoils the way things are. 


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