Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Four Freedoms Under Attack

On January 6, 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his State of the Union speech that would forever be remembered for its central theme of "The Four Freedoms". He stated that the duty of government is to protect freedom of speech,  freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. It was a stirring tribute to everything government is capable of accomplishing. What we see and hear from today's Republican party is a denunciation of everything aspirational in the words of Roosevelt.

This is now a party unencumbered by the truth or by facts, who believe that freedom of speech means the ability to invent and then perpetuate lies. The latest is the attack on what they derisively refer to as Obamacare and the $716 billion in cuts which, if the truth had any place in this discussion, would be shown to come not from the pockets of recipients but from providers (and oh by the way, which "cuts" are part of the "Ryan-don't care" plan).

This is now a party that uses religion not to promote healing of wounds and kinship, but as subterfuge to destroy a woman's right to essential health care services. Under the guise of an employer's  freedom of religion, this would have devastating consequence on so many women in need.

This is now a party that seeks to destroy the underpinnings that keep the underclass from falling further into the abyss. Medicaid, food stamp programs and other fundamental government assistance would be decimated, as the Republican version of fiscal sanity is merely leaving the least fortunate behind. Freedom from want loses all meaning when you perceive that these people are not looking for a hand up but a hand out.

This is now a party whose most basic tenet is to create fear in the populace. From the death panels to the debt ceiling, there's is a false message that government is only capable of destruction. They perpetuate myths about the worst in what we have to offer, rather than elevate by showing the most that we can do.

As I listen to the line of Republican speeches, filled with half truths and outright lies, distancing their party from the disasters they created and leaving the President and the Democrats without an ally to attempt to bring us to a better time, I think back to that speech of FDR, given at a moment when a worried and tired country was on the eve of the second World War and in the midst of trying to recover from the depths of the Great Depression. It is a long and sad fall from the heights of  those words of inspiration to these attacks based on untruths, desperation and hatred.


Bruce Egert said...

Robert Nussbaum at his prosaic best !!

Anonymous said...

Unbelievably well written.
These are the very words need to be said again and again by the President. Scolding the opposition did wonders for Harry Truman.--RE