March 22, 2006

Who We Used To Be?

"We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization."

Can you name the U.S. President to whom this quote is attributed?

This was, at one time, the voice of our government, spoken by the leader of our nation during a trying time for our country. I wonder if he was speaking of citizens of the world, or exclusively citizens of the United States. I'm not sure it matters. America felt strongly enough about the sentiment to preserve it in stone.

To some Americans, these words have not lost their relevancy.
I'm one of them.



Anonymous said...

Number Two here.

Lorianne said...

That's Franklin Roosevelt as quoted on the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC, right?

I love that Memorial...and the quote hits the nail on the head.

Anonymous said...

It makes me sad to read that and think how much things have changed. I wonder what can be done to bring that kind of sentiment back to public service (and for that matter, what can be done to make politicians understand again that they're supposed to be public servants)?

Elizabeth said...

Yes, how things have changed. Things have changed for the BETTER!!!

Rosa Parks was sitting in the back of a bus when FDR said that. I imagine Rock Hudson was figuring out that you can't be a star and be gay. And keep in mind FDR said that while hiding behind a podium so no one would get a picture of his crippled self. And also keep in mind that women had only been voting for maybe 25 years when FDR said that.

How things have changed? Yes it's a good thing that people woke up after FDR gave Stalin all of Eastern Europe and decided that 8 years was enough.

I'm a big fan of FDR, I think he was a great president and I whole heartedly agree with the sentiment but do not go wearing rose colored glasses when you read big, noble quotes like this. Politicians have always been self serving. One only needs to read H.L. Mencken and other pundits of the early 20th century to realize that not much has really changed in those terms.

People have ALWAYS had to fight for their rights. That has never changed.

Suzanne said...

Good points, eb. My thoughts, however, were focused in an entirely different direction.

What I was thinking of when I posted this was more of rights being taken away / impinged (ala the Patriot Act) as well as the lack of outrage and action from our leaders as to the repugnant way "prisoners" are/have been treated while in American custody (ala Abu Gharib and Guantanemo Bay).

Yesterday's news perhaps. But from that angle, things have not changed for the better.


Suzanne said...

Yes on both counts, Lorianne.

It's a wonderful memorial to visit with a camera. The stone and water elements of the design really appeal to me.


Gina said...

I agree with both you and eb. Does that make me indecisive?

Suzanne said...

Gina, not at all. I agree with eb too, as well as myself... lol.


Taradharma said...

excellent quote. excellent ensuing discussion. At this college where I recently spoke (about being a lesbian) I was asked, "who do you give the credit for all the gains you've made? the government?" It was an odd question in the context of the talk, but my answer was, "All those men and women who put their lives on the line and demanded civil rights for glbt folks -- certainly NOT the government. The govt. only responds when the groundswell can do longer be ignored."

Anonymous said...

isn't that the purpose of a government? to speak for the majority? so it makes sense for them to wait until there is a large enough following before making any changes to policy
..just saying

the quote certainly deserves to be remembered, not just by the people in charge, but by the people underneath them as well