“Neccessitous Men Are Not Free” FDR January 6th, 1941 (How strange. The same date that another president would lead an attempted coup against our form of government 80 years later.)
Thom Hartmann has a daily newsletter. He calls it a rant. His rants frequently get to the very nut of issues unlike many others. Monday he hit at a soft spot in Democratic politics. Why has the Republican Party over the past decades become known as “the freedom party” when their actual politics is authoritarian control?
Here is Hartmann’s rant:
In his newsletter Monday, Hartmann put most of this in print. For emphasis I will post a few important passages. This is the kind of things I would love to hear from Democrats this election year:
You can’t disentangle economics from liberty. Which is why Democrats have proclaimed since the 1930s that:
If you’re hungry and don’t have access to food, you’re not free.
If you can’t afford decent housing and therefore don’t have a safe place to live, you’re not free.
If you’re out of work and can’t support yourself or your family, you’re not free.
If you’re sick and can’t afford medical treatment, you’re not free.
If you live in fear of rightwing terrorism because of your religion or the color of your skin, you’re not free.
And if you have the inherent capability to be a scientist or union electrician but can’t afford college or trade school to reach your potential, you’re not free.
Instead, as FDR said in the next sentence of that speech:
“People who are hungry, people who are out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”
It’s time for the Democratic Party to begin messaging like FDR did.
Referring to the wealthy base of the Republican Party, Hartmann notes:
For most of our history conservatives have promoted the interests of slaveholders, big property owners, big business, and big money, while progressives have promoted the interests of freedom for average working people.
Hartmann also notes the power of the wealthy in America to keep folks from truly being free:
While fascism was rising in Europe, another type of tyranny was overtaking America, driven by bankers and industrialists who controlled vast wealth and political power.
If you lived under the thumb of an employer who refused decent pay and benefits, and you lacked the legal political power to join a union, you were not free.
Since there are limits on cribbing from other folks, I highly recommend clicking on the link to read Hartmann’s full newsletter or listening to his rant above to get the full flavor of what this very important message is.
FDR in his State Of The Union address of 1941 listed his Four Freedoms. The freedoms of speech and worship, with the right to live without fear and want, were spoken to be as inalienable as the rights laid out by Thomas Jefferson: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He opened the speech with this statement:
“We have come to a clear realization of the fact, however, that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry, people who are out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, or race or creed”
It is time for Democrats to reclaim the heritage as the real party of freedom by letting voters know what party created almost all of the framework that allows what freedoms we do enjoy. It is also time to let people know that there is plenty more work that needs to be done to allow all Americans to be fully free.