Thursday, September 18, 2008

Great Depression II

I just came back from back-to-school night for our daughter who’s a high school junior. She’s taking, among other subjects, AP English and AP History – the American versions of both.

She doesn’t know how lucky she is. To be reading about our great country during the difficult times we’re going through. Of course, she’s only 16 and she isn’t aware of the problems.

I thought if I told her about the financial market debacle this week I could guilt her into cleaning up her room and getting more organized for what should be a most difficult year but I was being selfish and stopped myself before I dumped the problems of the adults on the shoulders of a 16 year old.

But I did want to sit in on her classes for sure, especially if this time around I could bring to it the knowledge and discipline of an adult. Instead, I went to the Internet to find Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s speech about the four freedoms and then I started surfing. I found his first inaugural address from March 4, 1933, the one about fear and read it all the way through. I was guessing that it would be as encouraging a message for our times as it was for my parents and grandparents going through the Great Depression. Damned if I wasn’t right.

Check out this site for the speech. Read through all of it. It will lift your spirits. After a week of financial disaster and head banging BS from the Republican candidates, I needed to know that if we got out of one hell of a pickle, we could once again. You will be amazed at how similar our times are to those of the First Great Depression.

Surely FDR’s America, listening around a radio, was no smarter than our America now. Yet Mr. Bush is seemingly AWOL once again. A bad case of senioritis I would say. And McCain/Palin, well, I’m beyond insulted at how stupid they must think I am. Once we had real leaders. I pray that one day we will again. Obama can inspire, but can he lead, can he pull together his own brain trust for the tough days ahead?

When economists throw around phrases like “worst financial disaster since the Great Depression” I can only assume that they know the full impact of what they are saying. I can only hope that they aren’t just reaching for another sound bite, that they actually stayed awake during their American history and English classes. Because I did and those words have resonated in my head all week.

My daughter has to read John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath this year. Perhaps I should offer to be her study buddy.

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