Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Speech I Heard and the Speech I'd Like to Hear

"Damaged Child, Oklahoma" 
Dorothea Lange, 1936

I watched Obama's speech to Congress last night and I thought it was very good.  He was interrupted by some heckling by a Congressman from - where else -  South Carolina, continuing their illustrious 220 year historical tradition as the US's "problem child."   

As usual Obama was calm, focused, articulate and presidential.  Like I said, it was a very good speech.  But what I'd really like to hear is something a bit different.  

FDR's October 31 1936 Madison Square Garden Speech

FDR gave this speech to a packed house at Madison Square Garden near the end of the 1936 presidential campaign on October 31, 1936.  He was running for a second term and the election was only a few weeks away.  For four years, FDR had been the subject of the most vile propaganda from the Republicans who, then as now, had no alternative ideas whatsoever.  They said he was "insane," that he had syphilis, they called him a class traitor and said it was "the Jew Deal."   

By the time of this speech, FDR decided to take the gloves off and deal with their hatred and incapacity to govern head on.  This is the famous "I welcome their hatred" speech.
Full text and audio of the actual speech here and an excerpt below:

"For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.

"For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

"We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace‹business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

"They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

"Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me and I welcome their hatred.

"I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master."
Basically, when he gave the above speech FDR just decided what the hell - if they want a class war I'll give 'em a class war.  Here were the election results a week later:

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome your comments, but all comments are moderated (in an effort to reduce spam), so there may be a one-day delay before your comment appears.