There has been a lot of argument recently about Trump’s slogan to “Make America Great Again!”. Much of this discussion surrounds the definition of “Great”. Is the U.S. not still “Great”, Was it ever “Great”. Exactly when did it stop being “Great”.

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There is no real answer. There are, however, moments in history when Great things were done. One of these happened back in the early 1930’s, a time that is now know as the end of the Great Depression. A time when rampant poverty kept most Americans balancing precariously on the brink of hope and despair.

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At the 1932 DNC convention, FDR was the clear leader and very close to having enough delegates behind him.  The DNC, however, had another candidate in mind. They manipulated headlines in major newspapers and issued a variety of ballot types to confuse voters. The 6 day convention included “moles” in the audience who were to “boo” every time FDR’s name was mentioned. They also circulated and encouraged suggestions that FDR was an unrealistic candidate. Despite all these tactics, FDR’s camp remained strong and prevailed.

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Maybe because FDR was a people’s candidate (as opposed to a special interest candidate) the US experienced an unprecedented period of wealth and prosperity. His policies built a thriving middle class and the mighty US infrastructure. The US  also became the “strong arm” of the world’s military forces under FDR. This back when armed forces were used for humane reasons first and war profiteers still needed to resort to ingenuity to turn a buck.

CARTOON: NEW DEAL, 1932. 'We Demand a New Deal!' American cartoon, c1932, by John Miller Baer, defining the term 'New Deal' first used by Franklin D. Roosevelt in his speech while accepting the Democratic nomination for President, 2 July 1932.

CARTOON: NEW DEAL, 1932.
‘We Demand a New Deal!’ American cartoon, c1932, by John Miller Baer, defining the term ‘New Deal’ first used by Franklin D. Roosevelt in his speech while accepting the Democratic nomination for President, 2 July 1932.

A missed lesson from history? The US faces many of these situations again today. We are told to turn a blind eye to corruption and to fall in line for the lesser of two evils. If people in 1932 had done what their were told and not stood strong with a people’s candidate, the US story would have been far darker.

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