I wandered into the Performing Arts Library yesterday evening. It just happened to be the one weeknight the Library is still open after 6:00 PM.
I found a number of FDR recordings on the electronic catalogue, and after asking around for about ten minutes, I found myself checking my coat on the third floor. Then I passed through the glass door into a long, brightly lighted room of computer desks and microfilm file cabinets.
The room was very very clean. I thought I was in some corporate research or creative department. To think that the City of New York had little public library annexes of this quality!
And it is free!
To make a long story short, I listened to FDR’s first 2 inaugural addresses.
Ironically, what FDR said in those speeches conveys the mind and spirit that give rise to the very facilities where I was listening to his words: public facilities of the highest quality, provided by the people for the common good.
A couple of phrases really struck me. In the First Inaugural he said there was a need to keep private, autocratic powers in proper subordination to the people’s government.
David Sirota couldn’t have said it better himself!
Then, in the Second Inaugural, FDR mentions that three things we learned we have to do to have stability and economic justice are:
- Strict government supervision of credit, investment and banking,
- No speculation with Other People’s Money, and
- Adequate, sound currency.
This economic stability and justice would give rise to “new building materials of social justice.”
So I sat and listened in that quiet, clean, well-lighted public facility, and wondered how it could be that I had never heard those words before. Is it possible that others have been trying to prevent me from hearing them?
What kind of world will our current leaders’ words work to fashion for posterity?
Perhaps they aren’t truly blind to the wisdom of FDR, but simply vanquished by jealousy for his righteousness and stature.