Opinion Columns & Blogs

Memories of FDR

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane with Cal Thomas, as the venerable columnist did the other day in the CDT.

As a little boy growing up in the years after the Depression and World War II, he tells us he was not driven by envy, but by principles that ensured success by hard work and choosing the right paths, such as staying in school, not having kids out of wedlock and risking moving to towns where there are better jobs.

Today, Thomas says, such noble sentiments “have largely disappeared from our culture and been replaced by envy, greed and entitlement” — sentiments especially held by liberals and, he more specifically implies, by black voters now being wooed in South Carolina by Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

My own memory lane includes one day in early November 1940.

I was a boy of 9. My father was a land appraiser with the Interstate Commerce Commission. It was established by Congress in 1887 in response to the rage of western farmers led by the Grange, who were being abused by unfair railroad freight rates and discriminatory rail rates between similar regions. It was the first of a long line of independent regulatory agencies enacted by both Republican and Democratic administrations.

On that day, my father brought me to his office overlooking a big square in Buffalo, where a speech was to be given by a man for whom the hatred by Republicans has been exceeded only by their hatred of Barack Obama.

The crowd was a mass of mostly — if not all — white faces. In the distance was a speck, Franklin D. Roosevelt. They liked how he had helped put food on their middle class tables during the bottom of the Depression; and they liked his policing of Wall Street, his Social Security Act, his unemployment compensation and workmen’s compensation laws, his new wages and hours law, and the law that made it legal for them to organize unions without getting their skulls cracked. They were about to elect FDR to an unprecedented third term.

I wish Thomas had been with us.

John N. Rippey lives in Zion.