Monthly Archives: February 2018

Teddy Roosevelt versus Donald J. Trump

I am a member of Lowell, Massachusetts Sustainability Council which is designed to promote and augment the effort to save the planet by agreeing that Climate Change is a real phenomenon and it can cause changes in the weather.  It is indicative that it is the increasing of the carbon level in the air and water that causes part of this event.  The current President, Donald J. Trump, does not believe that carbon in the atmosphere is even there, let alone a cause of the changes in the weather.  By denying that fact, he finds himself in the unenviable position of being labeled many as laughable or in the use of curse words as he tries to rollback the nation’s realization that the nation is in danger of poisoning itself.  Even eating freshwater fish poisoned by airborne  mercury that taints the water is not a wise move in this chemically-laden climate.

I have been reading Teddy Roosevelt’s, the former President’s, speeches, to acclimate my desire to refute Donald Trump’s stand on conservation and ecology.   I believe this is the most reckless President of the 20th. or the 21st. Centuries.  Teddy Roosevelt had none of the many ways we can now chart climate change, but his conclusions are better, and his vision clearer, than his Presidential follower.  Teddy Roosevelt would probably not champion the extraction method of “fracking,”  without some solid evidence that it is safe for the environment.  Fracking is the buzzword for spraying old oil wells with treated water to allow whatever oil that might be left, to rise to the surface.  It is used liberally in Oklahoma, which has seen surface anomalies like earthquakes and such, as they increase incredibly in areas that are party to the fracking  craze.   We do have different ways of preserving Oklahoma.  We could just take the money wrapped up in electric/gasoline combustion engines and save the need to destroy that state.

Mr. Roosevelt did not ban fracking.  He, in truth, never heard of the word.  It is a recent phenomenom.  But given his love of the land, I believe that he would be extremely interested in the science behind the procedure.  He wrote many books, including “The Strenuous Life,” which, when read, makes you think that this was a man who lived life fully, and enjoyed it.  He talks about certain types of men, and concludes that “…really, (the character)  is not moral at all…Though extremists after a fashion, they are morally worse, instead of better, than the moderates.”

“There remains, however, a considerable group of men who are really striving for the best, and who mistakenly, though in good faith, permit the best to be the enemy of the good.”  If their attitude is right, then “…it is right once in a hundred times they are apt to be blind to the harm that they do the other ninety-nine times.”  “Hysteria in any form is incompatible with sane and healthy endeavor.”  Perhaps that observation explains the behavior of the Republicans who pride themselves on being “Tea-Party Republicans.”  They hit the nail on the head once and are in the process of thinking that the rule of sane and healthy behavior applies to them.  (The Strenuous Life” by Theodore Roosevelt, Dover Publications, Inc. of New York).

The fact is, that glaciers are melting, that polar bears really are endangered by melting ice floes, that temperatures are becoming more volatile under current conditions.  No one can argue with that.  Donald Trump tries, but his efforts fall on a lot of deaf ears, as they say.  His denial of the state of the world following his actions regarding the Paris Treaty, all point to a man who may have some luck in painting the world through his own eyes as they vent in carbon pollution.  He cannot apparently see what is in his own vision.  He is not a visionary.

“Each  President reviews the past, depicts the present, and forecasts the future of the nation.” (“Messages and Papers of the Presidents; Vol. XV 7245-7812;” 1911)  This is a pretty tall order, and one that I fail to see the current holder of the office doing.  He seems mostly interested in telling the past from his perspective, having little time for the present, and no time for the future.  He is apparently dependent on releasing one item at a time into the stratosphere, one campaign promise which might or might not be  crucial to his presidency, and then another, and another if he is able.  Roosevelt says he needed to “…go about these tasks of organization, education, and communication with the best and quickest results.”  He was interested in agriculture and the American farmer, someone I do not recognize as being important to this President.  “This can be done by the collection and spread of information.” (ibid.)

At one point, Roosevelt stated that he was worried that Congress would  be “…reluctant to undertake a work the cost of which could not be stated, even approximately, and the details of which had not advanced – so far as could be ascertained – beyond the experimental stages.” (ibid. Pg. 7284)  Roosevelt was worried about the cost of replacing tired old cannons with modern ones in his Presidency.  This President does not worry about giving tax cuts to the wealthy to the tune of one and one-half trillion dollars, with no statement about how it was going to be financed.  Roosevelt was worried about the future.  This President obviously is not.

One point of common concern between these two Presidents was the status of “Porto Rico (Puerto Rico)  Roosevelt wanted to have a wise administration that funded Porto Rico, as he spelled it, properly.  President Trump has barely recognized Puerto Rico’s importance to the United States by funding some of the island’s Hurricane Irma’s costs.  His treatment of the island is an insult to our ownership, albeit as a colony, or potential statehood.  His treatment of the island’s populace is a blight on our colonial requirements for the battered island.  These are our fellow citizens and as such, they deserve to be treated fairly.  He has not done that.

Teddy Roosevelt was so beloved that his statue became part of the famous four Presidents on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.  I do not believe that Donald Trump has to worry about a sculpture being made of him.  The President in 1902 had to   verify the elections and he said, “It would not be safe to make any change in the present system.  The elections this year were absolutely orderly, unaccompanied by any disturbance, and no protest has been made against the management of the elections (although in three contests nationwide) it …was “threatened where the majorities were very small and error was claimed; the contests, of  course, to be settled in court.”  Reminds me of the “Russian threat.”  But, the current president refuses to let the courts, which Roosevelt was proud to make a part of the process, check into the discrepancies in the election cycle.  Wouldn’t be nice to have Roosevelt’s approach to our elections?

“Home life is the highest and finest product of civilization.”  Roosevelt told the Congress, in a ‘Special Message’ on February 15, 1909.  “Children should not be deprived of it except for urgent and compelling reasons.” (ibid.; Page 7358)  He just keeps making the Presidency look better and better.  He even has a building plan called the “Cottage Plan.”  This was to design small homes for people in need throughout the United States.

Roosevelt was a Republican.  Trump is a Republican.  Roosevelt took office with the specific goal of helping the poor and middle classes.  Trump has benefited the wealthy.  Roosevelt reviewed the past, took on the wealthy, especially the trusts.  He depicted the present situation in most of his messages to Congress; and he forecasted in great detail the future of the country.  He lived up to his promises.  Trump likes to say that he is living up to his word in the election.  But, as I believe I pointed out, few billionaires, given billions more in tax breaks, are going to necessarily give away or invest in risky bets.  That is what the stock market is, and that is why it bombed on February 1, 2018.    Roosevelt had a plan, and only when it was pointed out to him that he could do it that way, did he use his Executive Orders to make the Interior Department and circumvent the Congressional bickering.  He introduced the liberal use of the Executive privilege to save the greatest land masses in the Union.  He started the National Park system.  He was a conservationist.  Trump wants to use that land to make the rich richer.  It is our land and we should take pride in it and take care of it.  At least, that is my opinion.

*Copyright by James A. Peters  ISBN 1-5323-2802 – 5