This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance…They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.
More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it…Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.—Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address
Some things to think about…at the time FDR took office, almost 40% of the workforce was unemployed. Banks were failing by the thousands. National income went from 81 billion to 41 billion between 1929 and 1932. Economic turmoil was worldwide. Sound familiar?
Yes, things aren’t great now, and the signs point that they will get worse. However, the gloom and doom that saturates the news and conversations is somewhat pointless. Clearly, as bad, if not worse, times were experienced in the past, and societies and countries survived. Who exactly do you think will solve the problems we face if it isn’t ourselves? Isn’t it time that instead of only talking about how bad the problems are we focused on how to fix them?
One of the best examples of words taking the place of much-needed action was the Big Three CEOs in Washington begging the government for money. Never mind that they flew there on their private planes (undermines the “need” argument a bit). Why aren’t they back in Detroit examining their companies from top to bottom looking for ways to fix the problems their companies face? In this instance, actions speak louder then words. Even those politicians that are willing to consider loaning these companies the money want a plan that shows how these struggling entities will become successful. Words alone aren’t enough anymore. We have to make a conscious decision to act.
We have two choices: one, we can succumb to all that is bad and hunker down, hoping that the worse will pass us by, or two, we can dig in and use some of that ingenuity that seems to have been tossed by the wayside in recent months. One person won’t solve this problem. The sooner we recognize that a brave knight isn’t waiting to ride to our rescue, the faster we can move towards future success. Make the commitment to seek out the people who are talking about real solutions and ignore the people who say the sky is falling. The sky may still fall, but the solutions people will have developed a sky-proof helmet before it happens.