“If You Ask Me: Essential Advice from Eleanor Roosevelt”
by Eleanor Roosevelt, edited by Mary Jo Binker
c.1946, 1974, 2018, Atria Books
$25.00 / $34.00 Canada
What should you do?
When relationships break down, what then? Or you lose your job and your bank account is depleted, your home is in foreclosure, you’re a victim of discrimination, what do you do? You ask yourself “What next?” then you reach for help, and with the new book “If You Ask Me: Essential Advice from Eleanor Roosevelt,” edited by Mary Jo Binker, the advice you get might be decades old.
Arguments on immigration, world issues, patriotism, and messy politics. Minority issues, equal pay, family problems, and Constitutional matters. Though these may seem to be problems strictly of the modern age, from 1921 until 1962, Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of our 32nd president, also tackled these same topics in her books and magazine articles. In those 41 years, she ultimately penned more than 600 pieces.
People from every walk of life consulted Mrs. Roosevelt for advice: politicians asked her and women sought her out. Men looked toward her wisdom and, says Binker, she had a particular affection for…
Martin Halpern is professor emeritus of history at Henderson State University and the author of UAW Politics in the Cold War Era and Unions, Radicals, and Democratic Presidents: Seeking Social Change in the Twentieth Century.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sam Rayburn, and Alben Barkley
Seventy-five years ago this week, there was a serious conflict between President Franklin Roosevelt and Congress. The United States was at war, indisputably a national emergency. Today we face a serious conflict between President Donald Trump and Congress. President Trump has declared a national emergency in order to spend monies appropriated by Congress for other purposes in order to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. Only Trump’s supporters, a minority of the country, see an emergency. If Trump is not stopped, we will have taken a serious step toward authoritarian government. We may draw some lessons from the conflict between Roosevelt and Congress in 1944 that may be helpful today.
As a follow-up to his call for an Economic Bill of Rights in his January 11, 1944, State of the Union address, Roosevelt had proposed to raise $10.5 billion for the prosecution of the war and domestic needs. The resulting Revenue Act raised only $2.1 billion and included tax cuts and new benefits for bondholders and the airline, lumber, and natural gas industries. On February 22, 1944, Roosevelt issued a veto message, charging that the measure enacted by Congress was “not a tax bill but a tax relief bill providing relief not for the needy but for the greedy.” Although Roosevelt was right in his criticism, the reaction on Capitol Hill was outrage.
The next morning, Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley of Kentucky, hitherto a close supporter of the president, charged that…
(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)
Bradley W. Hart, California State University, Fresno –
(THE CONVERSATION) Americans have spent the last 18 months wondering about Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. Charges have already been filed against 12 Russian intelligence officers for interfering with the 2016 presidential campaign, as special counsel Robert Mueller continues investigating the extent of the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.
A Senate report concluded that the Russians’ interference was aimed at influencing the outcome of the election.
If true, the president would not be the first U.S. politician that foreign powers tried to help.
In fact, two campaigns, in 1940 and 1960, featured bold attempts by hostile foreign powers to put their preferred candidates in the Oval Office.
While neither was successful, both highlight a vulnerability in the American political system…
Eleanor Roosevelt is an American icon. In her time, she was a progressive, but as Mary Jo Binker points out in the introduction to her new book, “If You Ask Me,” the term “progressive” has changed with the times.
The book is a compilation of Roosevelt’s advice columns, ranging topics from etiquette to war and peace. It’s a delightful look back at a pivotal chapter in American history, and much of the timeless advice is just as applicable to our present chapter as it was then.
On politics, Roosevelt believed in positive rights, such as the right to a job, good wages, education, health care, and so on. She chaired the UN drafting committee for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is fundamentally different from the U.S. Constitution, which only secures negative rights, meaning it limits government’s interference in our freedoms.
Franklin D. Roosevelt at his townhouse in Manhattan surrounded by family members on Nov. 9, 1932, after he won the presidency in a landslide election. On either side of him, from left to right: Sara Delano Roosevelt, his mother; James Roosevelt, his son; and Anna Eleanor Dall, his daughter. —Photo Credit: Associated Press
“He” was a middle-aged man, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The place was the library in the Manhattan townhouse where he struggled to regain the use of his body — by literally crawling on the floor — after he was all but paralyzed by polio in 1921, when he was nearing 40.
Ms. Goodwin was there because of something that happened years later: Roosevelt sold the townhouse to Hunter College for $50,000. On Tuesday, during a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the moment the Roosevelts handed over the keys, Jennifer J. Raab, the president of Hunter, called it “surely the real estate bargain of the 20th century.” (Maybe, maybe not. That amount, in today’s dollars, would be $726,000, far less than a townhouse on the Upper East Side would probably go for now. One in the next block is on the market for $24.5 million, according to the real estate site Trulia.) …
An October 2018 report, Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape, indicated that poor national leadership and our political polarization were main concerns. Our recent midterm election offers little hope that the two problems will diminish. Thus, we ask ourselves, “What type of political leadership is now needed? Who might furnish it? Trump supporters might answer Trumpian and Trump. But most of us seek a better answer.
In a recent New York Times op ed—“What Kind of Democrat Can Beat Trump in 2020?”— columnist Frank Bruni cited various opinion-givers and answers. Two of the former were past Obama chief strategist David Axelrod and onetime Nebraska Senator and Governor Bob Kerry. Both agreed, in Axelrod’s words, “that there’s a market out there for a more unifying figure.”