Spend an evening with FDR

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Think things are bad now with the economy, unemployment and general mood of the nation?  Think again.

And think back to FDR.

He  changed the nation, guiding Americans out of the Great Depression with his New Deal and through  WWII with a can-do spirit and optimism that was contagious.

“It was that bountiful optimism — he said we’re Americans and we can do this and people believed him because he believed it,” said Robert Slayton, Ph.D., professor of history, who will portray the nation’s 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt,  on Feb. 8 (Monday) at 7 p.m. in the Wallace All Faiths Chapel as part of the continuing
A Night With
… series presented by Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Admission is free.

During his presidency, FDR pioneered many institutions that protect consumers today. The FDIC — deposit insurance — was created. Markets today are regulated by the Securities Exchange Commission, also started under his watch.  Unemployment insurance and Social Security, too.

man looking at camera
Dr. Slayton will portray FDR.

Where did FDR, considered one of the Top 3 U.S. presidents along with Lincoln and Washington, get his moxie and confidence? Dr. Slayton says some of it was just FDR. “He was a born natural.” But much of his personality was shaped during his battle with polio, says Dr. Slayton.  “Fixing the Depression was nothing compared to what he’d been through.”  Battling polio also gave FDR an empathy for other  people who were down-and-out because he understood loss and what it meant to struggle through difficult times, Dr. Slayton said.  “He is the only disabled president we’ve had,” notes Dr. Slayton, who — like FDR — uses a wheelchair.

In August 2008, Dr. Slayton underwent intense treatment for a neurological disorder that paralyzed the left side of his body. The right side of his body was not affected.

Two people kept him going, Dr. Slayton said. “Art (Blaser in political science) and FDR. I thought if FDR and Art can do it, so can I.”

For more info on the Feb. 8 event, call 714-997-6947.

Dawn Bonker

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