Resurrect Roosevelt’s Bill of Rights? A Cry For Good Old Fashioned Republicanism!

Roosevelt "fireside chat" State of the Union, 1/11/1944

Roosevelt “fireside chat” State of the Union, 1/11/1944

A couple months ago I visited a blog where the author was presenting his opinion on how we need to augment our Bill of Rights to include those elements presented in Roosevelt’s economic bill of rights back in January of 1944.  The author went on to suggest that Roosevelt’s presentation is something this country needs desperately.  Needless to say the blog author with the relatively controversial opinion received a number of replies, many who unfortunately favored the idea.

By nature I tend to think Republican in my political views although I would describe myself as a liberal conservative (in other words, I’m not obsessed).  The current election process and the two candidates have made this election one for the record books regardless who wins.  In theory, Republicans are supposed to side with Mr. Trump… and the Dems side with Hillary Clinton.  Obviously this election has managed to have ex-patriot party voters across all divides not favoring their own party’s candidate.  It’s pretty much total chaos in holding traditional respective party ideologies, and likely this mess will take a couple future elections to sort out so that we know again what each party will hold as their political philosophy.  BUT… having read this blog [I should post the link here but I don’t want to] I felt a rise to the surface within myself of those old Republican ideologies of yesteryear.  It was like blood surging through my veins I had thought were long forgotten and closed off as a result of all the garbage having been slung around as Republican ideology for the last 18 months.

But before we get into all that, let’s start from the beginning since I am guessing, you, the reader, probably hadn’t heard of any of this hidden Roosevelt history either.  For our purposes here we will reference Wikipedia… gently (yes, Wiki has been known to be a repository of slanted reference given it’s content is reader-contribution… but it’s ok if you use common sense and tread lightly when quoting from it).

Read the entire Wiki thing here.

Here’s my Cliff Notes version… with a little bit of historical background.

In January, 1944 the country was still at war (that’s World War II for you people that were not at school the day they covered that in history class) and would be for another 16 months.  The country was just recovering from The Great Depression where many people suffered greatly from a seemingly broke economic system… around the world.  Hunger and displaced people, it was believed, allowed dictators to take over and ultimately bring further tragedy to the world (actually that’s only partially true, but for the sake of our discussion here let’s go along with it).  So this became the basis for Roosevelt to formulate an extension of his New Deal… the plan to bring America out of the Depression and give the people the things necessary to survive, and then some, to make a new future for the country and the world to forever live in peace and equality for all.

On January 11, 1944, Roosevelt gave his yearly State of the Union address as one of his “fireside chat” sessions (look, you can look up what a “fireside chat” was, yourself.. I’m not your damn history teacher; here’s a clue… believe it or not, they didn’t have TV or the Internet back then).  Included with his speech was his plan for future economic equality for everyone.  The following are his eight economic bill of rights.

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • The right to a good education.

Roosevelt concluded,

“All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.”

Now, if you are any stitch a Republican at heart that will all sound like fingernails on a blackboard (NO.. I’m not surrendering to using the word, “chalkboard”!).  I’ll conclude this post here with my reply to that blog author who favored Roosevelt’s plan to augment our Bill of Rights.

“Methinks you are a good liberal, or in the least a great socialist wannabe, friend. While I consider myself a liberal conservative in most circles I read this and I suddenly felt my good ole republican roots kick in. We can certainly agree between us our mutual respect and good old fashioned patriotism for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I would even go so far as to agree with the interpretation of the current trend of thinking the Constitution is some sort of Divine Doctrine (not MY thinking, but whatever). But Roosevelt’s list of “rights” are just liberal huff-in-puff.

The founding fathers at no time even suggested some sort of economic parity across the classes. These fellows were businessmen and the capitalists of their day and appreciated competition without government controls (the whole issue of the Rebellion in the first place). These guys set up a bill of rights to set down the fundamental political climate for all Americans to have the same start from which to make the choices in their lives. Their direction was NOT to guarantee a government that provides economic class equality but rather to guarantee those inalienable rights from which a person can choose their own way to live in America. No one in this country should be economically entitled to a damn thing. But here’s the problem…
The strength of humanity is our diversity as a species. This carries into our society and political structure. Some people are rich and some poor. Why? Because some CHOOSE a road that leads them to riches, grasp at opportunities, expand education, etc. Some people choose (or are unable to make that choice) other roads, choose badly, or can’t manage to expand on their dreams for a variety of reasons. You can even include those who simply had good luck and those who had bad luck.  But that’s the nature of America… and humanity. You can go as far as you wish.. or as far as you can… or as far as you are able. I should not be ENTITLED to a home.. I should be entitled to achieve getting a home based on whatever is required to get one… using the playing field set forth by the Bill of Rights and whatever wit, education, training, stamina, assertiveness, good timing, good luck, etc. that I can choose to muster to fulfill my dream. Being in America doesn’t assure your dream… it allows you to pursue it.

In fact, the so-called, American Dream is less about owning a home, cars, and comfortably living a quality of life from which you can raise a family without want.  The true American Dream is that you are free to pursue whatever dream you wish because our Constitution sets the playing field equally for all to make your best choices in life, and your success is measured by your own drive and abilities.  The American Dream is not a government handout of economic equality.

The amendments serve to tweak the Constitution to whatever the current mood of the country is at the time. It’s designed that way. Consider this… the Brits chose to leave the EU in that referendum out of emotional impulse; the public feeling the pressure of uncontrolled refugees and immigrants entering their society mostly. If that were an amendment being considered here in the States the process slows down that impulse by requiring Congress and at least two thirds of the state legislatures to debate and decide the issue. Yet, somehow,for as slow as our process is alleged to be, our country passed the Prohibition amendment pretty fast.. and the appeal to it.”


Forget Roosevelt’s list. I’d not rather to live in a country that dilutes dreams and choices with economic class benevolence.  You want Socialism.. go find it elsewhere.”


Thus endeth the lesson.

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