“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Many Americans have heard of this quote at one point or another. Stemming from the first inaugural speech of our 32nd president, it seems that this historic quote holds true now more than ever. During his presidency, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had gained one of the highest approval ratings among our many, many presidents and he had gracefully contributed to the increase in patriotism and trust for our nation. FDR was truly effective during his presidency; through his fireside chats, he was able to communicate with and inform the common people about the government’s course of action toward social, economic, and political issues. By enacting his New Deal reforms, FDR was able to restore faith in the American government by improving the American standard of living.
Generations later, patriotism doesn’t seem to reach the caliber it was once at in FDR’s time. Americans are currently finding themselves in an undeniable conundrum as they live through the distasteful 113th Congress; just months ago, Congress’ approval rating dropped to an all-time low of 9%. The appalling percentage does not seem to surprise the majority because our Congress is in political gridlock – politicians could not seem to agree.
The recent failure to pass gun control laws in the Senate has also accounted for the decline in patriotism. While 90% of Americans favor the passing of gun control laws, they become greatly disappointed as they begin to realize that they aren’t properly represented. Our Congressmen blame this contradiction in opinion on the citizen’s failure to bring their ideas to their attention.
Terrorism appears to hinder the growth of patriotism as well. While the 9/11 event has united many Americans, it would be wrong to consider the attacks a hidden blessing because of the many lives that were taken away that day. It is hard to live in peace – that isn’t hard to understand. But it is absolutely shameful that Americans are only able to bond and unite when tragedy strikes and it becomes ridiculous when these many acts of terror act as the glue of American society. What’s worse is that we’re being attacked on our home front. When the Boston Marathon bombing broke out in mid-April, many Americans were left dumbfounded and when the culprits were unveiled, Americans everywhere were probably wondering the same question: What does Czechoslovakia have against us? Americans should not have to be afraid on our own soil; the thought itself is just ridiculous.
A big issue New York is facing right now is hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing (hydro fracking for short) is a process used by major gas companies and the process includes the pumping of chemicals into the earth to break apart the rock to release the gas and it has existed for decades. The problem with this process, however, is that the chemicals used during this process are lethal and they seep into the soil and water pipes. That is OUR soil –– OUR water; there have been several reported cases regarding the contamination of tap water (as a result of these chemicals) in houses. This is a serious issue; because the water in these houses is flammable, homeowners are left in shambles because no one would be willing to buy a house that is ready to explode. Gas companies would lease lands by paying homeowners per acreage (a signing bonus) and in addition, homeowners would be paid each and every time the gas company would extract gas from those wells. In theory, it sound like an excellent deal, but there are unfiltered reservoirs and aqueducts located in upstate New York and those reservoirs are the water supply for millions of people in several states; if the water supply in the reservoirs become contaminated, the water in every single household they supply will be contaminated as well. I believe that Congressmen and citizens are both at fault. Citizens aren’t showing enough concern about this hydro-fracking and the government is way too political to take a stand on this issue (because these are BIG companies that fund political officials for their elections). The media is equally at fault because they are not educating Americans about important issues, but rather nonsense that should otherwise be considered garbage; several individuals who get their daily dosage of global information from BBC News for this very reason.
While critics of Roosevelt’s presidency argued that the people have become too dependent on the government to resolve their personal issues, it is surely indisputable that his presidency provided a secure haven for the Americans of his era. America does not need a miracle – no, what America needs right now is for her children, her little constituents, to stand and speak up for themselves. After all, a democracy is “rule by the people;” if citizens and Congressmen can just contributed an ounce of concern for welfare for the general public [as well as their posterity] and got rid of that carefree and apathetic energy, maybe, just maybe patriotism would have a second chance at life before it dies out completely.