Jul 30, 2012
Michael R. Drew
Franklin Roosevelt called the nation together with his famous Fireside Chats heard on radios nationwide in the 1930s, in the upswing of a “we” cycle.
In this and in the next two blog posts, I’ll feature some excerpts from that first Fireside Chat, broadcast from the White House on March 12, 1933.
Notice how FDR speaks to the nation as a family of equals and appeals to everyone to work together for the common good. Notice also the absence of bluster and the overall tone of transparency. These are the stylistic hallmarks of an upswing of “We.”
“I want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the United States about banking… I want to tell you what has been done in the last few days, why it was done, and what the next steps are going to be… I owe this in particular because of the fortitude and good temper with which everybody has accepted the inconvenience and hardships of the banking holiday. I know that when you understand what we in Washington have been about, I shall continue to have your cooperation as fully as I have had your sympathy and help during the past week.”
“First of all let me state the simple fact that when you deposit money in a bank the bank does not put the money into a safe deposit vault. It invests your money in many different forms of credit-bonds, commercial paper, mortgages and many other kinds of loans. In other words, the bank puts your money to work to keep the wheels of industry and of agriculture turning around. A comparatively small part of the money you put into the bank is kept in currency — an amount which in normal times is wholly sufficient to cover the cash needs of the average citizen. In other words the total amount of all the currency in the country is only a small fraction of the total deposits in all of the banks.”
That’s interesting, isn’t it? Talking about the safety of banks, and how he speaks about a bank putting your money to work (instead of using your money to enrich itself).
How have things changed since then? What does that “we” upswing look like compared to our current “we” cycle, which began a decade ago?
Thanks for sharing? More Fireside Chats to come!