On October 31, 1936, four days before his reelection, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a speech at Madison Square Garden in New York, commonly known as his “We have only just begun to fight” speech. I decided to re-read the entire piece last night, and I was stunned at how current it was. President Obama could give this speech almost verbatim, and most people wouldn’t realize he’d lifted it from 76 years in the past.
For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.
We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace–business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.
They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.
Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.
I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.
It’s strikingly familiar, not just for the short piece of audio shared above, but for references to current issues, including employees that they could lose their jobs if they don’t vote for the Republican, the degradation of poor people in this country (now charmingly referred to as the 47 percent), the dangerous shirking of government’s responsibility to the people, and more.
I was fortunate enough to find the address on YouTube, presented in four parts, which is embedded below. Find the time and listen to the whole thing. Here’s a link to the text, courtesy of the FDR library, if you want to read along.
President Obama can’t give this speech. I wish he could, but it’s just not possible in these days of instant media and FOX twisting the news. Nevertheless, this is largely his message, and it’s why President Obama has my vote. I hope he has yours, too.
(And just in case that’s not enough, remember that Governor Romney has gone to multiple anti-gay hate group meetings to convince the anti-gay hate group leaders that he’s just like them. Never forget whose side he’s on.)