Sunday, September 21, 2014

It makes a gal think

I am just about finished with Ken Burns' latest PBS documentary, this one on the Roosevelts. I am so impressed ... by Burns' work, by this family and by my country.

The documentary introduced me to TR as I had never seen him. It didn't really tell me much I didn't already know about Eleanor and Franklin, though it did present FDR's achievements in a new light and context. For example ...

I have been hard on President Obama lately because he has desperately disappointed me. But not because he's a "marxist/socialist" (as one overheated blogger from Florida called him yesterday -- as if the two are interchangeable) but because he lacks the leadership skills and imagination exhibited by the Roosevelts, especially FDR.

That blogger I encountered yesterday proved herself to be a superficial woman -- interested in justifying her misplaced anger and ignorance with her religion, which is sad for all Christians -- but she did get me thinking. If there had been Fox News and the Internet during the Depression and WWII, would we all be speaking German today?

I'm not being facetious. Can you imagine how FDR, with his New Deal programs like the National Recovery Administration and the SEC and the FHA, would play with the extreme right wingers that dominate the airwaves? Those programs did more than give the citizens hope, they strengthened our economy to the point that we were able to first assist the United Kingdom and then enter WWII. And defeat Hitler.

I'm a loyal Democrat -- a Kennedy girl who believes that government should do for us what we can't do for ourselves* -- so it's not surprising that FDR struck a chord with me. Still I appreciate hearing from the other side. I always perk up and pay attention when Mike Murphy, Nicholle Wallace (now on ABC's The View) or Steve Schmidt shows up. These Republicans are thoughtful grownups who can articulate their POV without going all birther/muslim/socialist/marxist. I've learned a lot from listening to them.

But because they don't pander to hate, I bet a large swath of far right wingers like "my friend from Florida" can't be bothered with them.

Which is sad.

 And kudos to Ken Burn and PBS for serving up our recent past in a way that encourages us to think.

*A rather Christian notion


  1. I've taped all the episodes and can't wait to watch it!

  2. i enjoyed watching too...I DVR the series so I am about half way. I love PBS

  3. I only saw a few minutes of the documentary, but FDR is one of my favorite presidents. The college I went to was named for him and his wife, and all of their classes are taught with a social justice slant.

  4. This series is really good. I wish there was more about Teddy and his family. It seemed much more skimmed over than Franklin and Eleanore were.

    I'm a Teddy girl. I admire his energy and enthusiasm, and his way of bucking the system. I don't like everything about him, but I've enjoyed learning more about him.


Sorry about adding Comment Moderation, folks. But look at the bright side, at least I've gotten rid of word verification!