The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #155578   Message #3660961
Posted By: Don Firth
16-Sep-14 - 07:51 PM
Thread Name: BS: Anybody watching 'The Roosevelts' on PBS
Subject: BS: Anybody watching 'The Roosevelts' on PBS?
Anyone watching the new Ken Burns series on PBS, "The Roosevelts"?

Two hours per episode. On my local PBS station at least, it started this last Sunday evening (Sept. 14th) and runs every evening until this coming Saturday (Sept. 20th). Barbara and I have been watching it, completely enthralled.

Being a certified geezer, I remember Franklin Delano Roosevelt well. He was elected President two years after I was born, was re-elected again and again, and yet again, and died in office during his unprecedented fourth term, when I was in my early 'teens. I remember the Great Depression, and Roosevelt's Herculean efforts to bring it to an end and put people to work again—despite the really vicious opposition of Wall Street and the moneyed interests. The New Deal, his institution of regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, which reign in those who were looting the country, and such things as the WPA and CCC, that employed people directly, allowing them to pay their rent and put food on the table, and resulting in the building of much of the country's infrastructure, such as roads, highways, bridges, and national parks. And I remember FDR's "Fireside Chats," which were not really speeches, but were exactly that—chats—in which he explained his policies to the country in detail, what he was trying to do, and who or what was attempting to block his efforts.

I hope President Obama is watching this series!

So far, Burns has covered most of the life of Theodore ("Teddy") Roosevelt, his beginnings as a sickly, asthmatic child, and through leading "The Strenuous Life," his becoming what someone called "a locomotive in trousers." As Vice President, he ascended to the Presidency when William McKinley was assassinated, to become the youngest U.S. President at age 42. Among other things, he cleaned up a great deal of corruption and broke up many of the trusts and monopolies that were robbing the working man and the country in general. Were that not enough, he was at the head of his famous "Roughriders" in the Spanish-American War, and was largely responsible for bringing about the building of the Panama Canal.

So far (two episodes), they've only touched on Franklin and Eleanor, but—

The family was extremely wealthy, a Dutch immigrant ancestor having bought a mess of farmland in what later became downtown Manhattan. The family was highly flawed in many respects. But they were fiercely dedicated to the idea of noblesse oblige—the concept that privilege demands responsibility—a concept that seems to be totally dormant today.

But why am I telling you all this? Watch the series! It runs (at least locally) until Saturday evening. But you can stream each episode at any time from this website:   The Roosevelts.

(I DO hope President Obama is watching it!)

Don Firth