Public domain copy of Norman Rockwell's 'Freedom from Fear'

Fear Itself

Below is a YouTube video in which Donald Trump tells his supporters to kick a protester out of the audience.

In this second video you see Trump’s supporters beat the guy up. In the background you hear Trump shouting, “Get him the Hell out of here,” as his supporters cheer.

Where have I seen scenes like this before?

Donald Trump is not just a privileged blowhard like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.

Donald Trump is a charismatic Narcissist whose enablers are willing
to shred our Democracy to prop up Trump’s Narcissistic delusions.

None of this is new.

Dying for a principle is not new.

Neither is dying to keep in place a class system in which only the wealthy élite prosper.

How many times do we have to do this: the torture, the scapegoating, the democide, the bigotry, the slavery, the inquisitions, and all of that needless suffering?

Here’s my problem:

We don’t have to do this.

Most voters in the United States have access to unbiased factual information about all of human history.

There is enough history for us to see and prevent these destructive cycles of mass murder.

Our species has done this so many times, it’s not surprising that it’s happening again.

But we can stop this. There is still time.

The problem is not Islāmic Terrorists.

The problem is the brutal inequality and exploitation that history shows us is the inevitable result of unregulated Capitalism.

We can stop this.

We have a gift called reason.

We can use it to save ourselves from years of chaos and destruction.

Wendy at WendysWrittenWords asked me to describe an ideal society.

I’ve considered the question and my answer is this; I think an ideal society is one that dedicates its resources to promoting human rights.

I study history to question the present.

In his 1941 State of the Union Franklin Roosevelt said:

“The Nation takes great satisfaction and much strength from the things which have been done to make its people conscious of their individual stake in the preservation of democratic life in America. Those things have toughened the fiber of our people, have renewed their faith and strengthened their devotion to the institutions we make ready to protect.”

The Nation is stronger because the people know they have a stake in its success. The Great Depression was a recent event when Roosevelt gave this speech.

“Certainly this is no time for any of us to stop thinking about the social and economic problems which are the root cause of the social revolution which is today a supreme factor in the world.”

Roosevelt provides an economic context for the rise of fascism:

“For there is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are:

Equality of opportunity for youth and for others…”

Equality of opportunity is not the same as a free ride. Providing it is part of the work of sustaining a healthy democracy.

“Jobs for those who can work.”

The assumption here is that people who can work will work and those who can’t want to.

“Security for those who need it.”

Economic hardship is a fact of life for many people. Those people are citizens and voters. Providing some measure of relief is part of the work of sustaining a healthy democracy.

“The ending of special privilege for the few.”

A democratic system is the antithesis of a government that caters to the rich. This is another aspect of preserving equality of access. Preventing the rich from using their power to rig the system isn’t class war. It is the work of sustaining a healthy democracy.

“The preservation of civil liberties for all.”

No one has the right to vote away another person’s freedom. Protecting everyone’s rights is the work of sustaining a healthy democracy.

“The enjoyment . . . the enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.”

A healthy democracy spreads the benefits of new discoveries in science and makes them available to everyone.

“These are the simple, the basic things that must never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern world. The inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations.”

The health of our democracy is directly related to the work we do to sustain it.

“Many subjects connected with our social economy call for immediate improvement. As examples: We should bring more citizens under the coverage of old-age pensions and unemployment insurance.”

Because the fullness of life that comes with economic security belongs to everyone in a healthy democracy, not just the wealthy few.

“We should widen the opportunities for adequate medical care.”

This is government acting on the principle that everyone benefit from scientific research.

“We should plan a better system by which persons deserving or needing gainful employment may obtain it.”

This statement predates Civil Rights legislation and laws against workplace discrimination.

Roosevelt then calls for global a human rights movement.

He broadens the scope of the rights specified in the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

Roosevelt continues: “If the Congress maintains these principles, the voters, putting patriotism ahead of pocketbooks, will give you their applause.”

The voters understand that the civilizing principles of our democracy are more important than money and they will not support a Congress that doesn’t.

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms…

The first is freedom of speech and expression–everywhere in the world.”

http://"Save%20Freedom of Speech". Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.

""Freedom of Worship" - NARA - 513537" by Norman Rockwell - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -

The third is freedom from want–which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.


The fourth is freedom from fear–which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.

""Freedom from Fear" - NARA - 513538" by Norman Rockwell - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -

“Since the beginning of our American history, we have been engaged in change–in a perpetual peaceful revolution–a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing conditions–without the concentration camp or the quick-lime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.”

The United States, the principles of democracy, and our definition of human rights is evolving and change does not require a descent into barbarism.

“Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose.”

The freedom to speak your mind, worship as you please, benefit from new technologies and the abundance they create, are the only way we can make
a safe and just world order. These are freedoms, not rights.

Roosevelt understood that our credibility as a nation was directly linked to our commitment to the principles that shaped and must continue to shape our government.

He looked at the Nazis and saw a people who felt defeated and were impoverished. He saw inequality and poverty as the cause of fascism.

Roosevelt understood that fascism can happen anywhere, even in the U.S.

People whose individualism forces other people to live by a code of ignorant dogma are toxic to democratic systems.

A true individual understands and accepts his obligations to other people and the obligations of leadership.

In a healthy democracy our leaders are public servants who owe their allegiance to all the people.

The men and women who made Roosevelt this nation’s President four times are called the Greatest Generation.

I understand the use of this term but it troubles me; I sense an implication that we can only have one “greatest generation.”

What does it mean to belong to a great generation within the context of the history of democracy in the United States.

What do you think it means?

Here is the “Four Freedoms” section of Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address:

FDR – The Four Freedoms 6 January 1941



(c) Rob Goldstein, 2015 All Rights Reserved

All Images in the Public Domain










56 thoughts on “Fear Itself

  1. The saddest thing, for me, is the number of people who drank the Kool-aid. Trump has had over a year to rein in the forces of discord and ignorance, which HE unleashed. There remains so much more he can do, and it’s far from certain that he even has the interest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is no reason for Trump to care. He’s not really the president and it’s not his job to care. His job is to destroy the United States as a liberal democracy.

      Trump didn’t unleash himself. Everything he said or did was amplified by the RNC and the Kremlin on Fox, Facebook and twitter.

      It looks like Mueller has verified one of the more important allegations in the Steele Dossier.

      We may be on the verge of learning what really happened.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadly, these Trumpsters actually believe all the Fake Media! They think it’s the real press & the real press is the Fake News! They have bought into Trump’s BS hook, line & sinker!
    Fortunately, Trump’s days are numbered. They have already declared the election was hacked into. Several of Trump’s buddies have already turned state’s evidence. It’s just a matter of time now!
    Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” will be out en Español soon. It’s about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
    Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sherrie. It’s not over until the people of the United States fully understand that are still under attack with a psychological weapon; a weapon that targeted a specific group of Americans to use as an armed cult. We will not be safe until we completely dismantle Putin’s ability to use our media to lie to us.


  3. Those guys who beat that man up AND Trump himself should be in jail waiting trial. Trump should go to jail the same way that Metzger went to jail for all the young men he brainwashed into killing black males! He is more evil than Metzger!
    Thanks & back at you!
    Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
    Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too: 😉 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Reblogged this on sherriemiranda1 and commented:

    Wow, some very profound & meaningful words & images here!
    Thanks & back at you!
    Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
    Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too. You can go to the Home page of her blog to watch it:
    Or you can see it on YouTube: 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Rob,

    I am reminded of an Edmund Burke quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” We all have to speak up and to act (VOTE) to stop DT and peoples like him.

    Encouragement To All The Good People, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! The job is formidable. I have never seen this degree of deception in American politics my life. Even in the contested 2000 election the media did it’s job of reporting the facts and providing context. Today the press us that Bush won by a landslide. The most baffling question is this: given what we know about Trump and his criminal history; why is this man still running for President?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Rob,

        I do not have an answer to this baffling mystery. I am puzzled, perplexed, frustrated and disheartened. Part of me thinks, maybe this is karma for all the hateful misinformation that is out in the ether we breathe. He is the best candidate or poster boy for the spreading of lies and conspiracy theories that the right wingers have been dishing out for years.

        What we cannot be, is complacent in the face of evil. To all the like minded bloggers out there, keep posting the truth and VOTE!!

        Meanwhile, I can’t wait until the suspense is over, Gronda

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:

    This evening, I share a post from Rob Goldstein. His is a thoughtful and thought-provoking article about the current state of our society here in the U.S., our history and that of other nations, and the things we need to understand in order to keep from making the same mistakes over and over again. He speaks of those things that are required in order to maintain a healthy democracy: placing an importance on human rights and freedoms, preventing the rich from using their power to rig the system, “putting patriotism ahead of pocketbooks”, and using the “gift of reason”. I find his message to be very timely, and I hope you will take a few minutes, not only to read his words, but to think about them. Thank you, Rob, for sharing these thoughts and for allowing me to share your post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for re-blogging this post. That’s why I posted it: I want us to at least look at our most recent history and understand that we can do better. We don’t have to be perfect; but as a people we are better than the cynicism that seeks to divide us.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish. He is extremely clever at manipulating the resentments of his supporters.

      Trump is a multi-billionaire who has nothing in common with an out of work Vet in Texas. If anything, many of rip-offs imposed on that pissed off man are the result of people like Trump.

      Human evil is a master of disguise.

      That’s the heart of almost all of the personifications of evil. Evil is a trickster, a seducer of our baser passions, and a liar. Evil can be a beautiful man or a beautiful woman, it can look like an angel.

      In the Judaeo-Christian tradition evil even masquerades as God. It can recite the bible with the passion of a saint.

      That’s why evil will never, ever be completely defeated.

      Evil is an aspect of human nature.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Personally I don’t know why some people even run for office when they know they don’t have a snowballs chance in hell of winning… Imagine what you could do with the money some of these canadates run through with their “doomed from the start” campaigns…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This is where being active in the political process becomes crucial.

        I know that most people think of our government as separate entity but it isn’t. For all of their demonizing of the government conservatives understand that the government always represents the people who choose the leaders.

        If the only people who vote have a conservative agenda we will have a conservative government.

        If both parties represent one side it’s because the only people offering and promoting a political agenda are on one side.

        I like ‘Occupy Democrats’ because that is precisely what’s needed…The parties become the people who join them. Our system really couldn’t be more simple in this way.

        This is why so much effort goes into suppressing the vote.

        It is only when as many people as can vote that we live in a true democracy.

        Thanks for the comment.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Not sure how long the American people will tolerate what’s going on in that Republican sandbox. Surely, we are better than this.

    Thanks for the thorough analysis of FDR’s elegant speech. He had it right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know why they keep winning elections….but they do.

      If we as a nation were intent on defeating the terrorist we would begin the overdue process of atoning for the invasion of Iraq. Think about how much respect we would gain as a nation if we held the people who lied us into that war accountable.

      If there is enough evidence to spend millions investigating Hillary’s email then surely we can find some money to investigate what we now know were blatant lies to Congress.

      Our problem is that we have no moral credibility.

      Our economic system is unjust. Our criminal system is corrupt. Our government is in the hands of adolescent men who think they can get by on the arrogant swagger of libertarianism.

      It’s sad, especially after you hear a man like Roosevelt speak.


  8. When I saw those videos I was shocked… still shocked. I can only hope that there are enough American voters who don’t vote for him. That would be a catastrophe for human rights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The catastrophe for human rights was the takeover of our government in 2000. Electing Trump would be hitting bottom.

      If he becomes President it will confirm the speculation that I read in the foreign press which is that Trump is another racist war criminal waiting to happen. The fact that we never investigated the invasion of Iraq may be unimportant to the people of this Nation but it matters very much to nations that don’t want to live under the dominance of a people who don’t follow their own laws.

      If we elect Trump we will fall hard.

      Read Pravda and other Russian media to get a sense of what’s happening. Putin is re-organizing the State, re-nationalizing utilities and re-arming. He has no reason not to. When we allowed our President to use the tragedy of the attacks on New York as an excuse to invade a nation that everyone knew was innocent of involvement we lost our right to lead the world. If we had investigated that crime it would be different. We would be demonstrating a commitment to principles. But we didn’t. We let all of them walk. That passive decision to shirk national accountability for the murders of hundreds of thousands of innocent people was more damaging than anything Bin laden had planned. Even now, the nations of the world watch as we discuss a Syrians as if they are vermin. People who champion human rights don’t behave like this. This is the kind of debate that takes place among despots. I’m genuinely afraid for my country.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I understand your fear completely. It is even more important you make aware of it. Yes, Bush was a very bad example of what might happen if Trump got elected. I really hope that there are many people like you who see that. Thank always for your so detailed replies. It really means a lot to me that you take the time, Robert, to do so!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well Erika. Your comments prompt me to think. I have noticed that a thought provoking comment really does intitiate a discussion of the topic. The whole point of exchanging ideas, I think, is to refine one’s point of view, to understand new perspectives and to gain fresh insights into the workings of one’s own mind. So in that sense the comments I provide are shaped by the comments you leave. That’s why I’m so glad that you read my work..

        And this reminds me. There is reason to hope. Trump is a little too honest for American Conservatives:

        US Republicans move to dump Trump

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you for the link! Fantastic! You know that is what I actually thought! Trump is so obviously insane that I am pretty sure the major part of the Americans will realize that. For whatever reasons the Republicans warn about his candidacy… the main thing is that even they warn! I am glad you like me commenting. I am sorry that I might not be able to read all of your posts but when I catch one over the reader I really enjoy them!!!
        For the election: Just have faith and go for your conviction! I cannot imagine he will be taken serious!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Well you know Erika, if you don’t leap to my blog the instant I post something I will pout and carry on like a child. Hum…Now that I think about it, that’s not your problem, it’s mine…:).

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Fascism is again rearing its ugly head ready to fight barbarism with barbarism. We cannot defeat an enemy that way without losing our humanity. We need to fight, after all if your pet dog is rabid you wouldn’t hesitate to put it down. Human rights aren’t won cheaply, the price is always high; just ask any Native American or Black American. Pulling together with one mind to preserve the 4 freedoms can guarantee our victory once again. This time in WWIII the planet is united to defeat barbaric acts against humanity committed by un-Islamic State.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes…the enemies of a civilized and free people are not limited to any one nation, race or class. we have a rich history of pulling our asses out of the fires we make for ourselves. Let’s hope we have enough smarts to do it this time. Thanks for leaving a comment…:)

      Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s his supporters that frighten me. They are irrational and violent and from what I gather they will settle for nothing less than the complete destruction of our government.

      I find it odd that we raving about the threat of Muslims when our real enemy is fundamentalism…period.


    1. Yep…I wonder if we have what it takes as a people to take a long clear eyed look at it and say no to it. Our biggest problem is that so much of it has already been normalized.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The climate here is becoming terrible. I feel like if certain candidates are elected, I’ll be the one looking to be taken in as a refugee somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Many of us will be…the fascists may change their tactics, but the agenda never changes. The problem in the U.S. is that the decline didn’t happen quickly as it did in Germany.

        The dismantling of our government began in 1980. It happened so slowly that now it is considered radical liberalism to support the Freedom to Worship or not worship as we please; an accusation that most people never question.

        Liked by 2 people

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