Franklin D. Roosevelt had campaigned against Herbert Hoover in the 1932 presidential election by saying as little as possible about what he might do if elected. Through even the closest working relationships, none of the president-elect’s most intimate associates felt they knew him well, with the exception perhaps of his wife, Eleanor. The affable, witty Roosevelt used his great personal charm to keep most people at a distance. In campaign speeches, he favored a buoyant, optimistic, gently paternal tone spiced with humor. But his first inaugural address took on an unusually solemn, religious quality. And for good reason—by 1933 the depression had reached its depth. Roosevelt’s first inaugural address outlined in broad terms how he hoped to govern and reminded Americans that the nation’s “common difficulties” concerned “only material things.”
The problem of power is how to achieve its responsible use rather than its irresponsible and indulgent use — of how to get men of power to live for the public rather than off the public.~Senator Robert F. Kennedy
First is the danger of futility; the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills — against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence. Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and 32-year-old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal. "Give me a place to stand," said Archimedes, "and I will move the world." These men moved the world, and so can we all.
"Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives, lessening human suffering, advancing the causes of peace and justice in our country and the world… Politics is what we create out of what we do, what we hope for, what we dare to imagine."~
Senator Paul Wellstone 1944-2002
I remember how he stood his ground in an era during which the needs of average Americans were largely ignored while power and money became even more concentrated in already wealthy, powerful hands; how he fought for economic justice, for universal health care, for a higher minimum wage and prescription drug benefits under Medicare; how he always had time to listen; how he challenged us, asking in The Conscience of a Liberal, ”How can we live in the richest, most privileged country in the world and still hear from Republicans, and too many Democrats, that we cannot afford to provide a good education for every child, that we cannot afford to provide health security for all our citizens?”; how he expressed concern for the safety of Muslim Americans after the 9-11 attacks; how he set aside an hour a week to talk with his interns to stay in touch with their lives; how he relied on and frequently sought the advice of his # 1 campaigner, his wife Sheila, who died with him; how he chose to run again despite the onset of multiple sclerosis, relying on his bubbling spirit to pick up the slack while the money poured in from out of state conservatives who were determined to bring him down; and how he was winning despite the efforts of corporations like the big pharmaceuticals that blessed his opponent with $200,000 while giving Wellstone $900 and change. Paul Wellstone was outspent time and again, but he was a winner because he played no favorites and was never outworked. Senator Tom Harken, Paul’s best friend and comrade through many Senate battles, fought back tears to say it best: “Paul was hampered by a bad back, but he had a backbone made of steel!”
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.
I believe it will end with a ruling of the 11th Circuit Court
of Appeals or a ruling of the U S Supreme Court. If this can happen to
me, it can happen to mayors, congressman or presidents who appoint
or take some action favorable to a contributor.
My conviction is anti-American in the sense politics must be funded
and presidents who are elected appoint contributors as ambassadors,
members of Congress vote in favor of issues that benefit contributors
and governors appoint contributors to all kinds of positions. This is
done every day in America, in every state and in Washington, DC.~Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman
"I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired"~Fannie Lou Hammer
Fannie Lou Hamer, a Mississippi sharecropper, changed a nation's perspective on democracy.
Hamer became involved in the civil rights movement when she volunteered to attempt to register to vote in 1962. By then 45 years old and a mother, Hamer lost her job and continually risked her life because of her civil rights activism. Despite this and a brutal beating, Hamer spoke frequently to raise money for the movement, and helped organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, to challenge white domination of the Democratic Party. In 1964, the MDFP challenged the all-white Mississippi delegation to the Democratic Convention, and in l968, the Convention seated an integrated challenge delegation from Mississippi.
Deeply committed to improving life for poor minorities in her state, Hamer, working with the National Council of Negro Women and others, helped organize food cooperatives and other services. She continued political activities as well, helping to convene the National Women's Political Caucus in the 1970s. She is buried in her home town of Ruleville, Mississippi, where her tombstone reads, "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."
"If you think Halloween is scary, don't vote on November 2nd and see how scary it will be"~Redeye