Monday, April 12, 2010

President Roosevelt, RIP

65 years ago today I heard the news while I was pumping gas at a filling station in Kansas City, Kansas. When I was told that President Roosevelt was dead, I said, "Thank God".

Outrageous? Hardly.

I was sixteen years old, had quit high school, and was admittedly not educated. To tell the truth, not very smart. But I had lived through Roosevelt's first, second and third terms. Now we were in his fourth term. The most popular cigarette brand of the day, Lucky Strike, had the slogan "Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco", which they represented with LS/MFT in massive advertising campaigns. On the street, people were interpreting that to mean "Let's Start Mentioning Fifth Term". Oh, God forbid!

We had recently observed Franklin Roosevelt at Yalta, old, senile and sick, nodding and drooling his way through meetings with Churchill and Stalin, stupidly relinquishing America's rights around the world.

Russia had done virtually nothing to help in the war with Japan, yet they were given jurisdiction over the north half of the Korean peninsula... an action which would later cost over 50,000 American lives. Am I the only person alive who today holds FDR personally responsible for those American deaths?

For 60 plus years, I have heard what a great president Roosevelt was. I remember it differently. I remember being raised in a home with no electricity, no running water. I remember when my sisters and I picked weeds - polk and lambsquarter leaves which my mother boiled with a dimes worth of salt pork to feed our family.

I remember going to school with a homemade shirt and bare feet.

I remember Roosevelt's alphabet soup of bureaus (NRA, CCC, WPA, etc.) which he promised would make things better. They always made things worse.

Thankfully, today some others are telling the truth about Roosevelt and his ruinous policies. Glenn Beck, for one, has guts enough to stand up and say Roosevelt was a disaster. In fact, it is largely because of Glenn Beck that I now feel okay to finally admit that, sixty five years ago today, I was happy that Roosevelt was dead.

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