October 24, 2009

The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Fear Itself

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 
first inaugural address, March 4, 1933

In separate speaking appearances this past week, ex-New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney resorted to fear mongering and divisive words yet once again to skillfully drive home their points. Please gentlemen, we're smarter now...we're tired...and we need more than that. The American public needs their government's help and inspiration.

Perhaps Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Cheney could learn more about the art of effective speaking from classic speeches such as President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first inaugural address from March 4, 1933. Following is a powerful excerpt:

"...Primarily, this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.

True, they have tried. But their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit, they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They only know the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

Yes, the money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of that restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy, the moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days, my friends, will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men."

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