Day 89: Arsenal of Democracy
Updated: Jun 28
The idea of the "freedom of press" has been a hot topic since written word began. Without credible news, people have no idea what's going on in the word, and all of their information just becomes hearsay. In 1918, Herbert S. Houston analyzed World War I with an article titled "Blocking New Wars". In this article, he wrote that American business was the "Protector of Democracy" while the American free press was "one of the most effective weapons in the arsenal of democracy."
Hello again, my thirsty readers. The news has gone from depressing, to just plain confusing. Planning a rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth, revoking transgender healthcare discrimination protection on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre, this is all in a week's work apparently. Tensions are bubbling, and I'm beginning to recognize the world less and less. I suppose I've been in my own bubble all these years, unaware how much hate was still hiding below the surface.
During the winter of 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a radio broadcast, as part of his Fireside Chats, where he pledged to give military supplies and support to the United Kingdom. In a fight against Nazi Germany, and their fascist allies, The United Kingdom needed assistance, and the United States offered up their assistance. FDR told America they must become "the great arsenal of democracy."
I used to read the Fireside Chats as a young history nerd. I didn't really understand at the time, but there was always something comforting about a leader shepherding the nation through such turmoil and hard times. I wish we had a leader like that today. With a quest for hope, I read his Arsenal of Democracy chat from December 29, 1940. I hoped perhaps it might give a touch of comfort to us all, so I included a section below.
"There are those who say that the Axis powers would never have any desire to attack the Western Hemisphere. This is the same dangerous form of wishful thinking which has destroyed the powers of resistance of so many conquered peoples. The plain facts are that the Nazis have proclaimed, time and again, that all other races are their inferiors and therefore subject to their orders. And most important of all, the vast resources and wealth of this hemisphere constitute the most tempting loot in all the world.
Let us no longer blind ourselves to the undeniable fact that the evil forces which have crushed and undermined and corrupted so many others are already within our own gates. Your Government knows much about them and every day is ferreting them out.
Their secret emissaries are active in our own and neighboring countries. They seek to stir up suspicion and dissension to cause internal strife. They try to turn capital against labor and vice versa. They try to reawaken long slumbering racial and religious enmities which should have no place in this country. They are active in every group that promotes intolerance. They exploit for their own ends our natural abhorrence of war. These trouble?breeders have but one purpose. It is to divide our people into hostile groups and to destroy our unity and shatter our will to defend ourselves.
There are also American citizens, many of them in high places, who, unwittingly in most cases, are aiding and abetting the work of these agents. I do not charge these American citizens with being foreign agents. But I do charge them with doing exactly the kind of work that the dictators want done in the United States."
Presidents used to talk like this. We once had true leaders. We were once inspired. Hopefully our words can inspire each other once again. Hopefully we can use those words as our own "arsenal of democracy," and we can make the change we so greatly need.
Arsenal of Democracy
.75oz Apple Brandy
.75oz Pineapple Rum
1oz Pedro Ximénez Sherry
.25oz Allspice Dram
.25oz Ginger Syrup
Stir and strain into chilled glass.
Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon.
*If you think this drink tastes like Christmas, you're doing it right. I really wanted to capture the feeling of a fireside chat.*
Sometimes, I don't feel like I have the right words. Sometimes, I prefer to let someone wiser than myself do the talking. I'll let FDR take the mic again here. "We have no excuse for defeatism. We have every good reason for hope-hope for peace, hope for the defense of our civilization and for the building of a better civilization in the future." No matter how desolate things become, I still have hope, and that's what keeps me going. Stay safe, stay proud, and keep shaking.