FDR’s inspired words

In what was not one of my better literary moments, I attributed the quote about having nothing to fear but fear itself to Winston Churchill. I could offer up some lame excuses, but the bottom line is that I clearly made a mistake. It was, of course, Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt who uttered those famous words during his inauguration address on March 4, 1933, as our country was in an economic free fall.

FDR offered inspiration and some tough love at a time when citizens really needed some. So, I started wondering if his words could offer hope as we struggle with today’s unique situation. I’ll offer a few gems, and you can decide if they still apply.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities: a sense of humor and a sense of proportion.”

“Not only our future economic soundness but the very soundness of our democratic institutions depends on the determination of our government to give employment to idle men.”

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.”

“Self-interest is the enemy of all true affection.”

“It takes a long time to bring the past up to the present.”

“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.”

“Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.”

“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.”

“The virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea.”

“True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”

“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
“One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment. If it doesn’t turn out right, we can modify it as we go along.”

“In our seeking for economic and political progress, we all go up – or else we all go down.”

“I am neither bitter nor cynical, but I do wish there was less immaturity in political thinking.”
“The point in history at which we stand is full of promise and danger. The world will either move forward toward unity and widely shared prosperity – or it will move apart.”
“Confidence…thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.”
“Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.”
“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”