RANGER AGAINST WAR: Directionality <

Monday, June 23, 2008


What is it you want?
What is it you want to change?
--I of the Mourning, Smashing Pumpkins

Since FDR was an avid philatelist, we featured his last postage stamp in the previous post, and the above depiction of his Little White House today.

As an addendum to the previous post on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Rehumanize Yourself), Ranger will mention Franklin Delano Roosevelt's humble retreat in Warm Springs, Georgia--the "Little White House." Ranger visited this little home where FDR developed many of his New Deal policies this weekend (we couldn't tell you ahead of time due to OPSEC), and was struck by several observations.

The simplicity and modesty of the place was most surprising. Little in the way of design or materials separated the Roosevelt's home from the servant or guest quarters on site, save that it was larger. But it is a small abode by today's standards, and is constructed of local materials constructed by local craftsmen.

It fits the definition of "green"--nothing precious, none of it expensive. Simple rock, simple pine. The bedrooms were small, and the beds also simple, without posts or headboard. The furniture was mostly made by craftsmen at the Val-Kil compound in Hyde Park, Eleanor Roosevelt's experiment in teaching agricultural workers industrial skills as a backup vocation.

Though the Roosevelts had money and Hyde Park, they chose more humble appointments for their relaxation time. To a larger degree than we see today, they lived what they preached. FDR was famous for talking to the poor Georgia locals about their lives. Even on vacation he was getting in touch with the needs of everyday rural Americans. His Rural Electrification Administration was born of these discussions.

Eleanor established the first black grade school in the area, which still stands and will soon undergo restoration. Eleanor Roosevelt was an exceptional First Lady whose efforts on behalf of the world's forgotten are legion, who also routinely made visits to wounded troops in theatre during WW II. This is behavior in stark contradiction to that of the current White House inhabitants.

Roosevelt built the house in 1932, and died there of a stroke in 1945. When you see this level of simplicity, you understand why he is not an imperial president.

When one sees the handsome but humble Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) cottages of hewn stone which dot the area, one wonders why there is no CCC today. It is not like we don't have broke down levees and poor people today. Pride and integrity are lacking in a culture of entitlements without productivity. Instead, we buy garbage from China to fill our needs.

The Roosevelts spearheaded so many fine social initiatives, many of which have fallen by the way; one wonders where that civic impulse went.

Is it human nature to try and staunch a wound, but to stop shy of a truly excellent solution? To just get by limping instead of learning to run?

--Lisa and Jim

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Anonymous Rick98c said...

well, my theory is that the change in American culture was deliberately brought about by "the powers that be" in order to create a nation of mindless "consumers" who can be milked like cows and think it's life. Anybody remember when we used to be "citizens"?

It's all about YOU! Why should YOU pay taxes to contribute to the common good when you could be spending the money at Walmart? As long as YOU are doing allright the rest of the people can go F^%k themselves. They must be losers or they'd be allright too. Get as much as you can grab and to hell with everybody else!

And on and on.

Monday, June 23, 2008 at 9:12:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Oh, I'd go with that. The idea of civic duty has gone missing in recent generations.

Contained within the idea of consumption as goal and "more for me" is the flip side of the scarcity mentality which engenders greedy, grasping behaviors aimed at keeping the other guy out. Like a giant roller derby of the marketplace.

I wonder the genesis of the new American solipsism. Can we tag it on Nixon and the crooks? Did that sanction the idea of getting all you can because someone else will steal it if you don't? Grab the money and run?

In the baby boomers and offspring I am seeing something else: a self-focus born of being conscious of being a part of something new (rock/drugs/free sex)--even if they themselves weren't actually on the vanguard. There is a kind of pride and arrogance that they were a part of that mini-society, separate from the old guard.

While some totter off to the occasionally anti-war rally, enjoying a nice Shiraz afterward, for most their "protest ethos" is worn mostly as style, today.

Regardless, they too consume, whether it is from the Gaiam catalog or Target.

Consumption as lifestyle describes the majority of our fellows.

Monday, June 23, 2008 at 9:57:00 AM GMT-5  

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