Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sacrilegious Thinking

I was born and raised in the Hudson Valley, New York.  I lived in a small town known worldwide for its most famous resident, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  I’ve often said the town has more national parks per capita than anywhere else in the nation.  Obviously we have the Roosevelt homestead and Presidential Library, as well as Val Kill, where Eleanor lived out the rest of her life after the Presidents death, but we also have a Vanderbilt Mansion.  Add to this a couple of state parks to preserve some other valuable summer properties of the rich like the Mills Mansion just to the North in the village of Staatsburg and you can see a town with its most valuable Real Estate off the tax rolls.
Obviously, the town, and its citizens, was enormously proud of its son.  There is a theater named after him, as well as the high school I graduated from.  In our history studies, his role in the salvation of the United States was clearly front and center in our lessons.  How he had saved the nation in the great depression, and had made the personal sacrifice to serve four terms to guide our nation through the troubling times of World War II.  Not so prominently discussed were the things like his attempt to change the composition of the US Supreme Court when it found a number of his first term initiatives unconstitutional. [1]
As I watch our current President, I am struck by a number of parallels, and wonder how much of what I was taught about our great President was really a case of the winner writing the history?  I learned very little about the conflicts he had with the Congress, but then the Democrats dominated both houses so it was essentially a one party rule at the national level, and with his leadership they (the Congress) probably passed everything he wanted. 
So now here we are some 65 years later with a like-minded President, out to fix the problems with Capitalism, but without the super majorities President Roosevelt had and I see us entering into our fifth year of economic decline.  I wonder how long the Great Depression might have been with another President and a different agenda?

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