Because the President's My Friend
Bill Moyer's writes about how President Roosevelt spoke to the hopes and aspirations of ordinary Americans in an article My Father and FDR in the Nation.
Moyer's family was a lot poorer than my folks. My father was a college graduate and an accountant, but my grandfathers were both first generation working people, one a tailor and the other an electrician. For my family also, President Roosevelt was a friend, and I remember well the day he died and the feeling of loss that we shared with Bill Moyer's father.
When I was born he was making two dollars a day working on the highway to Oklahoma City. He never made over $100 a week in the whole of his working life,
We can't revive the man and certainly we wouldn't want to revisit the times, but we can rekindle the spirit. There are 37 million people in this country who are poor; there are 57 million who are near poor, making $20,000 to $40,000 a year - one divorce, one pink slip, one illness away from a free fall. That's almost one-third of America still living on the edge. They need a friend in the White House. My father, with his fourth-grade education and two fingers with the missing tips from the mix-up at the cotton gin, got it when Roosevelt spoke. "I can't talk like him," he said, "but I sure do think like him." My father might not have had the words for it, but he said amen when FDR talked about economic royalism. Sitting in front of our console radio, he got it when Roosevelt said that private power no less than public power can bring America to ruin in the absence of democratic controls.