A dialogue on courage would be incomplete without Teddy Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena.” On April 23, 1910, Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech entitled, “Citizenship in a Republic,” at the Sorbonne, Paris. Thirty-five pages long, the unforgettable passage is found on the seventh page.
Many years later, Nelson Mandela gave a copy of this speech to François Pienaar, captain of the South African rugby team, before the start of the 1995 Rugby World Cup. (As a point of interest, in the film based on those events, the poem Invictus is used instead.)
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
26Th President of the United States
Franklin Delano Roosevelt or FDR was the 32nd President of the United States (1933 -1945) and the only one elected to more than two terms. His theme song during his 1932 election campaign was “Happy Days Are Here Again,” a sharp contrast to the worldwide economic depression that was currently in full force.
As I look forward to a New Year of unknown outcomes, I think of FDR at the beginning of his first term. Did he know that he would lead his country through a horrific world war? Did he see an end to the suffering caused by the Great Depression? History records his accomplishments: a New Deal Coalition that realigned the political landscape after 1932, domestic policies that introduced a variety of programs designed to produce relief, recovery and reform, international policies that fostered cooperation, and supported the United Nations and Bretton Woods.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the personification of goodwill. May we remember his legacy as we enter a New Year…
“We are trying to construct a more inclusive society. We are going to make a country in which no one is left out.”
“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all people, of all kind, to live together, in the same world at peace.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul.”
Alphonse de Lamartine
Alphonse de Lamartine was a French writer, poet and politician who was born during the French Revolution (1790) and lived to become a key player in the founding of the Second Republic of France (1848). A pacifist and political idealist, his efforts led to the abolishment of slavery and the death penalty, the enshrinement of the right to work, and the short-lived national workshop programs. A life well lived!
A good day is being with people who enjoy intellectual conversation. A great day is being with people who care for each other.
“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”