Do you ever feel forgotten, overlooked, or helpless in a world that seems increasingly confusing, rancorous, and on the brink of even more uncertainty and lurking disaster? Maybe you long for someone to come along and say, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” or, “It’s morning in America again.”
Striking a Great Depression nerve in the 1932 presidential campaign, Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke to the nation soothingly about the “forgotten man.” Roosevelt was confident and reassuring in his radio address. Known earlier as a great humanitarian, the sitting president in 1932, Herbert Hoover, seemed increasingly distant and cold. Weeks after Roosevelt’s hopeful national address, Hoover sent the army to deal with World War I veterans camped out in Washington, D.C., in protest over a pension dispute. In July, Gen. Douglas MacArthur moved aggressively against the impoverished men who had defended their nation in the “war to end all wars.” The result: A burning makeshift encampment became a symbol of the Hoover presidency.
Most Americans wanted someone who would help the forgotten man—not trample him—and they gave Roosevelt a landslide victory in November. They believed the national nightmare would end and joy would return to America.
Do you groan, even ache, to feel like Americans must have felt when Roosevelt won?
Today, if you’re a conservative you may be wondering when the current political nightmare will end. If you’re a liberal, you’re probably disappointed that President Obama is not pushing hard enough.
Is anybody ever truly happy with politics’ Remember, when Roosevelt won, the United States was in big financial trouble and his policies had not worked by the 1938 mid-term elections. By then, Hitler was a growing threat and Japan bombed Pearl Harbor three years later. Likewise, when Ronald Reagan took office after the 1970s malaise, he too had serious economic challenges, a deep recession, a critical press, and the Soviet nuclear menace to confront.
This year we’re in the midst of a mid-term election season. The Republicans smell blood and are relying on Scott Brown’s 41st vote. Democrats want to make the most of their majority status, and President Obama hopes to recover his lost magic. However, no matter whether we’re Republicans, Tea Partiers, conservatives, Democrats, or progressives, the question to ask ourselves is, “Where do we place our hope?”
Take a moment and remember the Christmas season just past. To all you who feel forgotten and overwhelmed, cast your lot with Christ: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder. … Of the increase of His government and peace, there will be no end. . . .”