pushing20

maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets. -arthur miller

2.26.2005

I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents. -Winston Churchill

That Churchill quote is pretty appropriate for and entry about FDR, I think.

I spent today on a field trip for my class on the American Presidenct to Frankin Delano Roosevelt's library, house, and museum. It turned out about 34 times better than I thought it would.

Hyde Park, where the Roosevelt compound is located, is about two hours from my school. I, of course, ended up in my professor's car for the trip, with two classmates. Turns out? That Prof. M. was easy to talk to, insanely smart, and plays good music while she drives (Jack Johnson and Ben Harper, mostly).

FDR's library and museum was interesting. Some of it was standard presidential museum stuff-- campaign buttons and posters, the family bible, a partial re-creation of his oval office. Some of the things on display were truly awesome poli sci nerd finds, like FDR's hand-edited copy of his first inaugural, from which he delivered the speechIcan be intensely nerdy about this stuff. It's good fun.

Mostly, though, the trip ended up being an unexpected bonding experience for the 15 people in my class. Here we were, all between 19 and 22, and we were throwing snowballs and making jokes about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt spooning in the tiny bed in the master bedroom of the mansion--before walking to the next room, which turned out to be where Eleanor slept.

We also spent a bunch of time trying to think up good Churchill quotes, because it turns out we're all huge nerds. Here are the ones I remember coming up:
"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."
"We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glowworm."
"
I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter."
and everyone's favorite:
"Yes, madam, I am drunk. But in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly."

I learned a lot about FDR, most importantly that he had some severely strange hobbies, like stuffing birds that he shot around his property as a young man. Also, he liked collecting pictures of boats and putting as many of them on the walls of his home as possible. It was seriously cluttered. Not, like, Collier brothers territory, but unexpected.

I like going to school with funny, interesting people who also happen to be brilliant. I feel a bit inadquate sometimes, but I've always thought that there's rarely a benefit in being the smartest person in the room.


Also, in these days of systematic dismanteling of the New Deal, it is more important than ever to remeber why this country elected FDR four times, and the great stewarship he provided for America during a very difficult time.

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