“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
I read an article in the New York Times about a lady named Marlane from the town of Eleanor West Virginia. The town was named after Eleanor Roosevelt. In the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency the government created towns with jobs for folks that lost their jobs and couldn’t feed their children. The government project was called the New Deal. Obviously there was immense opposition to this blatantly socialist endeavor. Some commended the government for stepping up to the plate and addressing the needs of hungry Americans whose children had never tasted milk or flushed a toilet.
These are the initiating paragraphs of the article…
Early spring, in the Depression year of 1935. A poor girl from coal-mine country, a dark-haired girl of 4, rocks beside her mother and two sisters in a car moving through the rain-swept night. Soon they will join her father, a Great War veteran who pads his shoes with cardboard. He has been working for months on some distant government relief project.
When the car finally stops, the sleepy girl can see only a blur of mud and midnight. Not until morning does she take in this government project: a new American town, raised from a field by her father and other men with families caught in the stalled gears of a broken economy.
The girl is told: You’re home now, Marlane.
I had to read on and as I did I thought about how this would turn ugly in today’s America. The Chicago Tribune and the New York Times were 1935 versions of Fox and MSNBC. Then, like now, a lot of people didn’t like government interventions but there wasn’t a television to throw it in their face. So the New Deal carried on and enriched some lives during the Roosevelt administration.
Some of it was disturbing. The creation of all white communities, cod liver oil for all children, toys brought in government trucks for Christmas, and you could be evicted for not complying with the rules. According to Marlane, the rules were easy, and the home, the job, the milk, the indoor plumbing and the toys were gifts from the Roosevelts.
Jobless folks like Marlane’s parents probably did not vote, they were busy looking for a job. Yet, the Roosevelts did everything they could think of in the time they had to create a better life for the jobless. This upset many of the Americans who did vote. They did not want to pay for what may have been considered the lazy and the uneducated.
There are politicians who really do want to help people. Hard to know which politicians are really trying to do good things for not-so-fortunate Americans. If the the not-so-fortunate Americans get a job, a home, breath clean air, and obtain some health care, the fortunate will not lose their fortunes?
Lately I’m thinking all political sides are ruled by corporations. I think corporations love money and their money God creates hate and fear, which also happen to be the two key ingredients of war.
Television, which is a huge corporation, provides information. TV is paid for by huge corporations that tell them what to tell us. These same corporations have caused us to lose our jobs. They told us to buy American, now they tell us it is a global economy. I tried to buy American made products for Christmas. I had to give everyone money — that is the only thing I could find that it is made here. They tell us what to buy — and we do what we’re told. Are we losing our drive, our moxy, our innovation? Don’t be afraid of government, be afraid of corporations and television.
When I finished reading the article I wanted to comment on how well Dan Berry captured the town and Marlane’s frustrations. Marlane loves her town and it’s history and the innovation it’s very existence represents. I learned from the history that Dan Berry covered so well in his article. I learned to care. Half the country cares Marlane. The other half is watching TV and doing as they’re told.
To read the NYTimes article go to