Tuesday, November 26, 2013

thoughts around Thanksgiving break

On January 6, 1941, PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt gave his 1941 State of the Union address, which became known as the "Four Freedoms" speech. In this speech, President Roosevelt proposed four fundamental freedoms that people everywhere should enjoy: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

In 1941, following The GreatDepression (yes, it deserves capital letters as a proper noun—name another depression that deserves such reverence) and two years into World War II (although the United States had not yet formally entered the war), to speak of freedom from want was probably rather popular, as the idea would be today as well, I imagine. But not among everyone, now, as it might have been then. Such a freedom assumes that everyone in the entire world would have everything that they ever wanted. Some might believe that to be a pretty ostentatious claim, especially in a time now with huge economic disparities, even in the wealthiest country in the world. I guess it all depends on how we define “want.”

Today, I bring this up because Norman Rockwell's representative image, Freedom From Want, is a family sitting around a table, presumably at Thanksgiving. (To place it within context, Rockwell created images for all four freedoms.) I hope you all are able to gather with family or friends during this break, and experience some level of freedom from want. For some in our community, it may only be for one day, while for others it may be one in a long line of many. Let’s all be reflective during this time, not just of the historical background of Thanksgiving, but also upon our experiences through the last year. And maybe President Roosevelt and Mr. Rockwell can help us to have some perspective as well, not only regarding our own situation, but the situation of many in our community and world who don’t have a freedom from want.

Have a great Thanksgiving. 

No comments: