Thursday Thought: Criticism, Conservation, & Politics by Teddy Roosevelt
In fact, Roosevelt was descending from the summit of Mount Marcy – the highest point in New York State – on September 13, 1901,when he received a telegram informing him that President William McKinley was near death. McKinley died on the 14th, and Roosevelt was sworn in as President – becoming the youngest to hold the office.
A Republican by party, Roosevelt was quite unlike what we know as the GOP today. Again, he was an avid conservationist, pushing the use of the nation's natural resources, but not the misuse of them through greed. Roosevelt pushed for equal opportunity for all American citizens in his "Square Deal" policy, and was a strong supporter of thoughtful government regulation of interstate corporations. In a nutshell, Roosevelt wanted America to be great…for all Americans. As he said in a speech in Philadelphia in 1912: In the long run, this country will not be a good place for any of us to
live in unless it is a reasonably good place for all of us to live in.
There were many things to admire about Teddy Roosevelt. But, as usual, his words are better than mine, so below are some Thursday Thoughts from Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, whose birthday fell on October 27th:
From A Book-Lover's Holidays in the Open, 1916:
Defenders of the short-sighted men who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things sometimes seek to champion them by saying the 'the game belongs to the people.' So it does; and not merely to the people now alive, but to the unborn people. The 'greatest good for the greatest number' applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method.
From Arbor Day – A Message to the School-Children of the United States, April 15, 1907:
We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted…So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life.
From Citizenship in a Republic, Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910:
It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
And, finally, a little call-to-action for us all:
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.
Finally, a great video on Roosevelt from YouTube: