Tuesday, March 4, 2008

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"

On this day, March 4, 1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated as President. In his platform he had promised a 'new deal for the American people' and pledged to help the 'little guy' in the streets. The time had come to give relief to the "forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid" and stop bailing out "the large banks and corporations." (A. James Reichley, 'The Life of the Parties'). During the first 'hundred days' of his Presidency Roosevelt proposed and Congress enacted the first measures that would lay a foundation of the New Liberalism, the so-called New Deal. These included restructuring of the national banking system, authorizing federal subsidies to agriculture, regulation of the securities industry, authorization of a big public power and conservation project, establishment of the National Recovery Administration.

The right-wing criticism was fierce. One of his opponents said, "I will take off my coat and fight to the end against any candidate who persists in any demagogic appeal to the masses of the working people of this country to destroy themselves by setting the class against class and rich against poor!" The socialist flame engulfing Europe brought a lot of concerns to the Americans and seeded many doubts in their minds about whether capitalism was working. While Roosevelt was attacked as a 'socialist', it was not a valid criticism. It was precisely thanks to Roosevelt that the free market system survived in the United States. But the New Deal was focused on regulating the free market and interjecting the government between the working people and big business to build the middle-class and restore the equilibrium.

Roosevelt was the torch-bearer of the new liberal philosophy that today makes up the Democratic Party. Both Obama and Hillary have been loyal to these principles. But I hope that the American people will see the real power of Hillary Clinton to bring about the change that America needs so desperately! Vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton for President!

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