This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. We can no longer shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. If we do not start speaking openly and honestly, this great Nation will not endure as it has endured, it will not revive and it will not prosper.
In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to our nation surviving”¦.and it is that frankness and honesty that is missing today.
As Americans we all face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, at this point in time, primarily, domestic enemies and material things. Our nation suffers from a dangerous lawlessness and endemic corruption that touches every aspect of our lives, both government and private.
Wages have shrunken to sad levels; taxes have risen; our ability to purchase and survive has fallen; government of all kinds is abjectly ineffectual; the means of restraint on out of control corporate lawlessness are frozen; the withered leaves of the tree of justice lie on every side; the common man is persecuted; the futures of many millions of families are gone.
More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.
Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the corporations that assert dominion over this nation have corrupted and polluted every facet of our lives. Government at all levels have failed, through their own stubbornness, corruption and incompetence. And although they have not admitted their failure, they have indeed abdicated, conceded to the gross and unrestrained power of their corporate benefactors. And while the practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men, the government, at all levels, refuses to hold them accountable.
And while some assert they have tried, their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition”¦.meaningless fines and delusional press conferences. Faced by failure of past enforcement they have proposed only the same coddling of the criminal enterprises. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.
And yet, the money changers maintain their high seats in the temple of our civilization. And while they remain there, we will not restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.
Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.
Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live.
Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This Nation asks for action, and action now.
Our greatest primary task is to put people to work and to punish those who have looted our Nation’s treasure and put people out of work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our natural resources.
It can be helped by preventing realistically the tragedy of the growing loss through foreclosure of our small homes and our farms. It can be helped by insistence that the Federal, State, and local governments act forthwith on the demand that their cost be drastically reduced. It can be helped by the unifying of relief activities which today are often scattered, uneconomical, and unequal. It can be helped by national planning for and supervision of all forms of transportation and of communications and other utilities which have a definitely public character. There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act and act quickly.
Finally, in our progress toward retribution and a resumption of work we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order; there must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments; there must be an end to speculation with other people’s money, and there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency.
The basic thought that guides these specific means of national recovery is not narrowly nationalistic. It is the insistence, as a first consideration, upon the interdependence of the various elements in all parts of the United States””a recognition of the old and permanently important manifestation of the American spirit of the pioneer. It is the way to recovery. It is the immediate way. It is the strongest assurance that the recovery will endure.
If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we can not merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal government willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective. We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and property to such discipline, because it makes possible a leadership which aims at a larger good. This I propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will bind upon us all as a sacred obligation with a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife.
Action in this image and to this end is feasible under the form of government which we have inherited from our ancestors. Our Constitution is so simple and practical that it is possible always to meet extraordinary needs by changes in emphasis and arrangement without loss of essential form. That is why our constitutional system has proved itself the most superbly enduring political mechanism the modern world has produced. It has met every stress of vast expansion of territory, of foreign wars, of bitter internal strife, of world relations.
It is to be hoped that the normal balance of executive and legislative authority may be wholly adequate to meet the unprecedented task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure.
We face the arduous days that lie before us in the warm courage of the national unity; with the clear consciousness of seeking old and precious moral values; with the clean satisfaction that comes from the stern performance of duty by old and young alike. We aim at the assurance of a rounded and permanent national life.
We should not distrust the future of essential democracy. The people of the United States have not failed. In their need they have registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership.
(ENTIRELY PLAGARISM…CAN YOU SPOT THE ERA/AUTHOR?)