Happy Warriors – Harnessing The Franklin D. Roosevelt Mentality

One of TAR’s founding principles states that we will not follow the breaking news cycle, but instead write pieces on political history, principles, and strategy. However, the recent event at the capitol, like the rest of the nation, has made us stop and think. Another founding principle states that we call out our own side. CNN has got the conservative bashing on lock, it occupies 100% of their content. Due to the sheer volume of misinformation that the Corporate Dems have spread about Bernie and his policies, we engage in extreme language, primarily directed at the enemies of the Progressive movement within the party. This is primarily due to them being the gatekeepers of power, holding the keys that lock us up. That being the case, calling out phonies in our own party often becomes item #1. However, that fervor must be matched with integrity and values. We can’t criticize the mayor Pete’s of the world being cynics ourselves. See, as a cynic, you opt-out of participating in the solution. Moving forward let’s carry the demeanor that has built this movement, the cheerful FDR, the never-mud-slinging-always-on-task Bernie Sanders, the intellectual drive for equality of Eleanor Roosevelt.

The scene of protestors becoming terrorists and overtaking our capital yesterday was horrible. So perplexed, I at once found myself feeling vulnerable that it was possible for them to waltz right in. What if Trump would have told them to hurt people, would they have started shooting? We saw one photo of a man holding zip-tie handcuffs as if he planned to take captives. After the initial shock, it sank in those now terrorist live sad lives. They will face up to 20 years in prison over a massive lie told by a man who could not care less about them. How have we come to a place in America where people are so hurt and in such bad shape that they risk their lives for conspiracy theories? During COVID we must all be aware of the pressures people face. Mental illness and substance abuse were running rampant, COVID was the icing on the cake. As a publication of any kind, we must have a sense of decency for others and society at large. While we really don’t like Mayor Pete, we respect him as a fellow human being and American. These events highlight the importance of a core American principle- settling disagreements with conversation, debate, and elections. We must avoid hateful speech. It is dangerous. It is a losing strategy. 

Did you know the media hated FDR more than any President in American history!? Yep, he received fewer newspaper endorsements than Donald Trump! How did FDR respond? Did he flip out like Trump, and start spreading propaganda of his own? Nope, FDR smiled and laughed his way to becoming the greatest President in American history. For his positive attitude and sheer effectiveness, they called him the Happy Warrior. With every big business and every media outlet against them, he never lost his cool or went down to their level. Time and time again he outwitted and like a comic sleuth exposed them. Perhaps the sentiment is best captured in his speech defending his dog, Fala, whom the papers and Republicans claimed he had recently left him on a trip and got a massive naval destroyer to go back and get him, wasting taxpayer dollars- 

After any political event that the media is hyping up, it is always best to check in with the human litmus-test Bernie Sanders. Bernie’s most admirable trait is his discernment. The man has never wavered on his positions and as the news cycle breaks, he knows where he stands. While other politicians take the easy route and engage in extreme partisan rhetoric, Bernie will only discuss the issues. And we mean only, like literally just issues. After the riots at the capitol, Bernie called out the President and the lawbreakers, confirming his main line of attack on the President since 2017, “the most dangerous President in the history of the United States”. Yet, the next day, Bernie immediately presses into the Biden administration calling to pass $2,000 stimulus checks. Notice how Bernie takes control of the narrative by reframing the conversation, Cuomo is trying to score a dramatic sound bit by luring Bernie into calling Trump names. In the end, he always brings it back to the most important issues, people need healthcare, childcare, and decent jobs. 

The final patron saint of the movement and perhaps the most overlooked is Eleanor Roosevelt. While FDR was the face of progress, the truth was that he was a moderating force between Eleanor and the country. She was easily 100-120 years ahead of her time. If we passed the legislation she wanted today it would be an advancement. A natural intellectual drive to solve problems paired with a Mother Teresa like respect for other humans made her a powerful force. It is extraordinary to have someone with pure morals and high intelligence, guiding the most powerful country on earth. Who knows how many times it has happened, 2-3 times possibly? Many don’t know that back in the ’30s and 40’s Eleanor was pushing for marriage equality for the LGBT community and pushing the voting rights act before it even existed. Unfortunately, the country was not as progressive as Eleanor. However, for everything else that FDR did pass where he went big, was him splitting the difference with what Eleanor thought. She also created the model of the first lady that we see today. Before her, the First Lady was a symbolic role, merely acting as hostess, wearing nice clothes, and being polite. When Eleanor arrived she immediately started leveraging her role for good! FDR wasn’t the only one to make radio appearances, one could argue Eleanor had more success with over 300 appearances. Beyond the first lady, Eleanor paved the way for women in broadcasting and media. Her impact today is incalculable, she is the deserved hero of progressives, women, LGBT, and all of her generation. 

Warriors are required for tasks like winning the white house, not warriors that carry firearms, but smiles. Warriors like Nina Turner who rally on the mic to uplift, instead of tear down. Warriors armed with solutions, not conspiracies.