is actually something quite old. That is, I think we should return to the statement made by FDR in his State of the Union Message in 1944, in the midst of World War II. It is often referred to as the Second Bill of Rights, and Cass Sunstein has written a book
This will be the third time today I will have posted the text of the relevant portion of the speech [below the fold]. I first did it in a comment in response to Armando. I then decided it was important enough to post on my own blog .
I now think I want to make this idea as visible as possible, which is why I have resorted to a diary entry.
The ideals FDR espoused SHOULD be the basis of the Democratic party's appeal to the U.S. While I would be delighted were the Republicans to endorse even 1/3 of this program, I hold out little hope for any such action on their part, given the current leadership.
These principles need to be articulated and proclaimed loudly and broadly, as what should be the basis of our civil society, that is, the basis beyond those most basic of inalienable rights as listed in the original 1791 document.
I have placed the relevant text from Roosevelt below in the block quote. Take time to read, and then make sure all you know ae aware of this statement of what we SHOULD be as a nation.
It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people--whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth--is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.
This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights--among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.
As our nation has grown in size and stature, however--as our industrial economy expanded--these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. "Necessitous men are not free men." People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all--regardless of station, race, or creed.
Among these are:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.