Survival and Leadership
People are worried about the world-wide Coronavirus, even though we are told “Don’t panic…be calm…wash your hands etc” Grocery stores are beginning to have empty shelves and items ordered online are showing “Not Available.” Hard to believe, in certain places like Costco, actual fights have broken out over certain goods. Should people take a deep breath and look at history for encouragement and to God for peace and assurance? The answer is a resounding YES!
The world has gone through many trials. It might be good to remember that our country and the world have faced hard times before. There were great costs and great loss of life, but the world went on and survived. Not only World Wars, which we survived, but great economic terrors of the Great Depression, which we survived. The whole world has gone through great and terrible pandemics, and the world survived.
What do we learn from history really? No Presidental leader or leaders in government can do everything except stand strong, and together, against the severe problems faced. Perhaps it would be good to know some words from a President who faced great challenges in our nation years ago…Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“When Roosevelt took office, nearly a third of America’s workforce was unemployed. Many banks were closed and tottering on the brink of collapse. Business confidence was broken, the nation was rudderless. At his death, the US was the richest and most powerful nation on Earth, the position it has held ever since. Few historians doubt that Roosevelt deserves a large part of the credit for this achievement…” ( Max Hastings of the Independent)
We have much to be thankful for with our strong economy and our medical forces that spend around the clock vigil. Let’s take a look back at history.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933 (in part)
“I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.
So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. 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 victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days…
With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems.
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.
I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption.
But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis—broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.
For the trust reposed in me, I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time. I can do no less.
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 do 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. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I take it.
In this dedication of a Nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us. May He guide me in the days to come.”
(Source: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, as published in Samuel Rosenman, ed., The Public Papers of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Volume Two: The Year of Crisis, 1933 (New York: Random House, 1938))
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