22 Comments

Thank you for this Simon! I love Norman Rockwell's paintings of the Four Freedoms https://www.nrm.org/2012/10/collections-four-freedoms/

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Absolutely on target: the 4 Freedoms are foundational. In a population often described as having a 10-second attention span, why do Ds not explicitly cite these-?? Yesterday, 50k people in SC sweltering heat "listened to" a Hitler-ian rant. Yes, Hitler lost the war -- after inflicting incalculable destruction and suffering -- but through the means of external force [D Day, etc] n-o-t internal resistance. This factor is very troubling.

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“A Secret Service agent told The Greenville (SC) News there were just 5,000 people already through the gates, with 10,000 in line (shortly before the event.).

CNN, as usual, fell for the 50,000 person fakery, and spread it - along with its twin Fox - far and wide. The idea that 50,000 people would come out in the rural backwaters of South Carolina is so preposterous that it’s hard to believe that any news organization would fall for it.

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Are they truly news organizations? I think they are entertainment organizations posing as news.

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I saw this too. This needs tp be calked put repeatedly

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Thank you for this reminder of who “we” are - Americans, free and responsible human beings - and even Democrats. I find new inspiration every time I visit the FDR memorial, especially in the evening throughout the year and during the day when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

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Still and always a breathtaking vision. Thank you for sharing these documents with historical context, Simon.

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For those who are not aware, the photo of FDR sitting next to his dog is part of the FDR Memorial in Washington DC. This is one of my favorite places, and is often ignored when visitors come to our city. If you are ever in DC, make the time to walk through this outdoor memorial, which is a walk through several "rooms" that depict his many presidential years. It is powerful beyond words, so I won't try to describe it. It is located south of the Lincoln Memorial, along the west side of the tidal basin (where the cherry trees are), and not too far from the MLK Memorial (which is on the tidal basin's north side). You will never be the same again.

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Loved this!

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Oh so needed to revisit this speech. Thank you!

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Jul 4, 2023·edited Jul 4, 2023

Thank you Simon for sharing the inspiring words of FDR and the Four Freedoms. Building upon the universalist values of the Four Freedoms, FDR on January 11, 1944, included the following message to the Congress on the State of the Union, which would become FDR's proposed Second Bill of Rights for the American people:

"It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. 'Necessitous men are not free men.' People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

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.

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.

America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world."

If you're interested in reading more, legal scholar Cass Sunstein wrote a brilliant book about the Second Bill of Rights: https://www.amazon.com/Second-Bill-Rights-Cass-Sunstein/dp/0465083331

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Thank you Simon, what a remarkable speech that was !!!

This passage,

Their only interest is in a new one-way international law, which lacks mutuality in its observance, and, therefore, becomes an instrument of oppression.’

And the last two freedoms, free from want and free from fear are all things perhaps our fellows Republicans have to think about.

Mutuality indeed is what we need again, thank you ever so much Simon !!!

Happy 4th everyone !!!

🤗🌿🎉

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Freedom from want: "economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world."

The Roosevelt Institute construes this to include a job guarantee: "Food security, adequate housing, a good education, medical care, and a job guarantee are the freedoms and securities that FDR laid out for America to achieve for its people." "Necessitous men are not free men."

https://rooatmsu.org/2019/02/16/necessitous-men-are-not-free-men-the-case-for-fdrs-second-bill-of-rights-today/

One poll shows this support for a job guarantee: 71% of Republicans, 87% of Democrats and 81% of Independents.

Democrats should adopt this as part of their platform.

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See my comment above regarding FDR's Second Bill of Rights.

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Yes -- No. 1" The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation

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“Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.”

FDR’s challenge to us all today...may we honor it this 4th of July by showing up, standing up, and speaking up for the freedoms of all Americans--no matter our race, background, zip code or gender!

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Totally agree, Simon - one of the great statements of the best of American democracy & progressive or liberal values. When I was founding USAction in 1999, I led with a quote from this speech. Wish more Dem politicians applied this and reframed it for our era.

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Thank you for sharing, Simon.

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As I read, I’m struck by the fact that this speech, like the Declaration of Independence before it, was written and delivered by an imperfect man practicing some things in his life and through the power of his office in complete contradiction to the righteous vision he articulated in his address. The Japanese Americans victimized in our own interment camps, the African Americans still treated as less than so that the political alliance with Southern Democrats wouldn’t crumble......much like the slave owners who signed off on the so-called “self evident truth” that all men are created equal.

However, I’ve come in my lifetime to understand that a perfect vision for the future is always and necessarily created by the realities of an imperfect present, and it is so often in the great moments of clarity when our leaders articulate that vision in which the march toward a more perfect union begins.

We dream in poetry but live in prose....when examined in any particular moment in time, America always looks like a mess of chaos, injustice, and turmoil, and the evidence is always overwhelming and unimpeachable. But when seen as a marathon being run over the course of centuries, the evidence is even more overwhelming than it is a singularly unique, remarkable, and magnificent place that continues to improve and redefine itself.

There is still no other nation on Earth founded on an idea rather than an ethnicity. That idea has ALWAYS been greater than what we have ever been able to live up to collectively....but Goddamn, what an amazing place we’ve created because we had that idea to chase.

Happy 4th all....I’m proud to be in common cause with you all because America, and that idea we’re still trying to chase down and perfect is worth the effort. 🇺🇸

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Freedom of Speech/Freedom of Worship/Freedom from Want/Freedom from Fear--Radical ideas in 2023 America, as US face the Nazis in 2024. US are trying to vote our way out of a Nazi coup and insurrection.

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Wow, I'm realizing that present struggles are perfectly paralleled in FDR's Jan. 1941 speech on the Second Bill of Rights (see John Turgeon's comment here):

"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."

Pro-democracy and pro-human rights forces in the USA are indeed having to wage a (nonviolent) war against MAGA extremism. In addition to Getting to 55 and electoral successes, of course, fixing inequality -- clearly fundamental to FDR's Four Freedoms and Second Bill of Rights -- will be necessary to crush Trumpism and Christofascism and White Supremacy.

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I cannot believe that I have no recollection of Roosevelt's Four Freedoms. This year I will be 70 -- Getting to the FDR Memorial is going on my bucket list. Thank you, Simon, for the introduction!

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