A Critic's Meta Review: 5/5
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was not from Tibet. At least, as far as I know, he was not. He did not grow up in a Buddhist monastery. He did not commit himself to a life of celibacy (although I’m sure the polio did not make things easy for him and Eleanor, but I will intentionally avoid delving into this topic any further). Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born into a rich family in the affluent New York hamlet of Hyde Park, located along the banks of the Hudson River. He was raised in a state of opulence. He then grew up to become a career politician.
And yet, listening to his inauguration, you would think that this guy was getting ready to be the next Dalai Lama as opposed to the next President of the United States. Well, like the Dalai Lama, he was able to stick around in his post for quite some time - in fact, longer than anyone else who has ever held the position. Unlike the Dalai Lama, however, he ordered the mass imprisonment of an entire ethnic group - the Japanese - sticking them, essentially, in concentration camps (although, compared to what they were doing in Deutschland at the time, these places were more like detention centers, holding cells if you will; nevertheless - not a good look, Frankie Boy).
Still, FDR will continue to remain a fixture in most people’s lists of the greatest U.S. presidents, and that is primarily due to this here inaugural address, given right on the heels of the Great Depression. Echoing the wise words of those who have attained enlightenment, FDR reassured struggling Americans that the “common difficulties” shared by the nation during this period of great economic uncertainty and unrest were centered around, ultimately, “material things”. True health and wealth, as any major Dude will tell you, is of the mind, and of the spirit - it does not stem from anything external. It must be cultivated from within.+
How does one do that? Through hard work, determination, and, most crucially, through love. Unfiltered, unconditional, pure, free-flowing love. After all, love is the only thing that has ever been known to conquer fear - and, as FDR said in this very speech, fear itself is “the only thing we have to fear.” There is a reason why these words have forever been etched into our collective memory, not just as Americans, but as humans. It speaks to us at an intrinsic, instinctual level. We all wish to decimate the fear within us and learn how to love all, with no bounds, and trust in the universe, the Tao, God, or whatever you want to call it.
God bless you, Mr. Roosevelt (and Mr. Rosewater)!