The Compliment: I received two wonderful comments -- so far -- on the Dickens's email below. I responded to one which mentioned JFK's famous inaugural "Ask Not" speech:
Thank you, Susan, for your kind words. I do not always get kind words but they surely are appreciated when I do. I believe JFK in his "Ask not" speech was calling the country, most specifically its young, to service. He was asking those who could to help those who could not. I also think FDR before him set a new rationale for government action WHEN its action is required to save the whole. It was the permission slip which the nation had never known, certainly at the time of Dickens’s visit, but extending to the 20th century as well.
FDR through his leadership gave the government the right and, indeed the obligation, to help when the many suffer extensive egregious wrongs by the few catapulting everyone into the death knell of Depression. Those wrongs were, in fact, righted by that great man whom I never knew but loved through the study of the history of that era and through my parents – despite their Republican leanings -- adoration of him. He did not shrink from his enemies he welcomed them, he did not try to compromise with the uncompromising, did not try to work with the unworkable but knew he needed to try something different that did work.
I worry that the our nation’s preoccupation with spending cuts and reducing government to an Ayn Randian postage stamp will be forged on the backs of those who can least afford it and that those who vote for these misguided and duped corporate lackeys will step on their own toes by falling prey to the sinister forces of race and to its camouflaged sound bites of small government and spending cuts.
I DEARLY hope that this debt ceiling manufactured problem which could have brought our country and the world to its knees, has been resolved. I even more prayerfully hope that the hard-fought-for benefits of the New Deal years that placed government front and center to solve the most dire economic threats and in doing so produced Social Security and its offspring Medicare will not ultimately face extinction. I do not want to see it succumb to those small minded egocentrists and over stuffed forces of Wall Street greed and the minions who serve them. This is a serious time of struggle and suffering. It should, I believe, provoke a clarion call to continue to help the least of these our brethren so that they do not perish from this earth.