Zero perspectivers meet the Four Freedoms

Zero perspectivers (Noun) — Those who choose to complain, whine and criticize incessantly about how these are “trying times,” or other references to the current state of public affairs. Generally found on social media and/or protests wearing dark sunglasses during media interviews in major cities.

The annual Fourth of July holiday represents an opportunity to relax, take stock and look forward to celebrating the nation’s independence via community BBQs, events and best of all, firework shows. It’s as much a national past-time as baseball or perhaps even more when factoring in demographics behind who view the game.

Anxiety and disdain, however, are at higher levels than normal about where the country stands. It’s become cliché, but clearly the divide remains. Throw in a few presidential tweets that cut to the core of division and a complicit media, and the discourse, if that’s even what it can be called anymore, can get ugly fast. What should probably be primary sources of worry, such as terrorism and rogue nations claiming successful intercontinental ballistic missile tests, become secondary to what some talking head is yelling at another talking head on cable news.

It’s times like these that require more perspective than normal. Despite gridlock in D.C., the country is not facing trying times. Or at least not as trying as it was seven years ago during the Great Recession. Most people have jobs who want them (granted some aren’t as high paying as others,) and economically speaking, employment, GDP and savings rates are either near highs or pretty close. Not everyone shares in the prosperity, but hey, that’s a subject for another day.

Freedom is not by accident. It’s the result of sacrifice, bravery, service and courageous leadership — first by members of the armed forces but also by those who lead them: Generals, field commanders, and dare to say, presidents.

Courtesy: FDR Library & Museum

One president, in particular, stood out recently. No, not the one seen body slamming CNN outside a wrestling ring. FDR’s Four Freedoms speech https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JNK1UcoUr4 came across the screen from a friend who forwards great nuggets from time to time. It’s one of the true digital joys to be directed to something that literally changes perspective in a meaningful way. Granted the process doesn’t happen too often and generally only occurs through trusted sources, which are fewer by the day.

FDR, or Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt for younger viewers, encapsulated freedom in 1941 during what has to be the most fearful time in the country’s history. Bar none, really, if you take a step back. Here is an actual draft of an excerpt from the speech (courtesy: FDR Presidential Library and Museum):

Courtesy: FDR Library and Museum

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Note: Like everything historical, you could read these freedoms and conclude that the means didn’t turn out to be the ends, or not even close. That may be true, but at the time, with a world war raging on an allies’ continent, it was a genuine appeal of the first order.