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Never has F.D.R. Spoken to Me – but On One Point He Does So Now

I have never been a fan of Franklin Roosevelt. His presidency, in my view, made America a worse place than it would have been had the chief occupant of the White House in the 1930s been someone more in the mold of Grover Cleveland or Calvin Coolidge. What I know of F.D.R. as a person is also unflattering. He was a venal opportunist, and sometimes cruel.

Yet earlier today, as I walked alongside a lake in northern Virginia, one of the most famous of F.D.R.’s many well-turned phrases sprung to mind as I watched people, several of whom were wearing masks and young enough to be my children, spring away from me as if I were a werewolf.

“Omigosh, F.D.R. was correct after all,” I thought, “and perfectly so, at least on one narrow but important point: ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.'”


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