Wednesday, November 03, 2010

FDR to A. Philip Randolph: "Make me"

I know we all want Obama to stand up against the onslaught of Republican Tea Party madness. It's clear from this afternoon's press conference that this isn't going to easily happen. He seems to be repeating the same mistakes he made at the beginning of his administration. No matter how obviously obstructionist they are, he is going to talk about compromise and agreement. That's what he did two years ago. Remember what they say about someone who keeps doing the same thing and expects different results.

But there is another side to this story: presidents (and other politicians) don't act in the interests of the people without enormous pressure from outside. The probably apocryphal story that FDR's response when Sleeping Car-porters union organizer A. Philip Randolph came to him to ask him to integrate the war industries: "make me" led to the first March on Washington.

In other words what happens the next two years depends on us, not Obama.

1 comment:

Alvin Hofer said...

Nonsense! This is a response by Obama apologists to his critics. There is no comparison between them. FDR did not need popular compulsion to do an enormous number of things for the well being of Americans on his own initiative (or on good advice') He had already achieved the ire of the wealthy class by 1040, for his "betrayals" of them since March of 1933: social security, minimum wage, welfare, CCC, FHA, the entire New Deal!

True, the American people, today, are asleep, but Obama is not concerned for them. He is strictly a self-promoter and he is enabled in his sell-out to our corporate rulers by people, like Harry Belafonte (with due respect) who cite Roosevelt's challenge to A. Phillip Randolph.