In 1941 I was 5 years old. I was standing in front of the RCA Victor radio in the living room. The wooden radio was the size of a manageable bear, with a fan-shaped face lit up like "Glad to See You!" when it was on. There were several knobs below the face, all shaped, polished and arranged like excellent chocolates.
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." This was President FDR's voice. My parents and their best friends pulled chairs around the radio, all leaning forward staring, gripping each other's hands. I heard them hold their breaths. This wasn't an easy time. Not everyone was crazy about FDR.
"You may have heard," FDR said, "that I breakfast every morning on a dish of grilled millionaires." And he explained what we tend to forget that: "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob."
That the preservation of the Four Freedoms, was the basic presidential goal.
The Four Freedoms: "The Freedom of Speech -- of expression," FDR said. Yes, and to have education, to express how we love, to own our bodies. Yes.
The Freedom to Worship God in our own way, everywhere in the world.
The Freedom from Want: The economic security, not just for us, but also for every nation, to ensure jobs, health care and a peaceful life for all it inhabitants.
And the Freedom from Fear: To keep moving our diplomatic gifts towards the worldwide reduction of arms.
I held my breath the first time I heard President Obama, then a senator, speak. He won our votes with the audacity of his hope. He won our support with the bravado of his commitment to the basic concepts of democracy: The power of each particular vote!
What's trapped him, and all of us right now, is fear itself. The fear-driven wails for funds (one of every three emails I get) do not buy the votes we require. The voters we need have no money. We each have our own vote. But some people won't bother to get out there if we keep telling them how bad it is: The discouraged young voters, the "minority" voters (our real majority). Senior voters, who don't have money to live, let alone give, won't bother if we don't send out positive messages. If each discouraged, bugged voter encourages one cranky buddy to vote we'll be fine. If one young guy whose parents are out of work takes an hour off from his job at MacDonald's to take a veteran over on Sawtelle to vote! That's how it will work.
We've got to adore you again, Mr. President, to beam our light on the arch of the confident profile, which fired us up. FDR had that arch of the profile, the "I know what I'm doing up here" drive. You got it.
By inflating our terror about "the corporate money" we allow fear in, and fear will win the day.
Send out repeated copies of the greatest hit list of Obama's accomplishments. Would you make me a list of Obama's 10 most powerful quotes? I will print those quotes and hand them out all over town.
And I'd like a list of "great quotes" about our president from other creative impressive Americans -- Tom Brokaw, Toni Morrison, Barbra Streisand, Bill Maher, George Clooney and Frank Gehry.
They'll tell you how much your vote means. Send a recruitment team to places like Arizona with a message from a top NBA player, a hero who comes from America's gut -- the sports world, which drives our spirits.
America is the voter's land. We will not be bought by the games the super PACs play with our most potent right. We will support uneasy family members, help them get their IDs, their absentee ballots if they are ill (or serving our country abroad). Our super PAC is the time we choose to give. Their money will not buy our election.
Get with it, salty, savvy Democrats! Let's dust off our sneakers and run.