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Words of Wisdom 


I was recently drawn to PBS News commentator Mark Shields' response when asked for the basis of his political philosophy. He cited the second sentence of this excerpt from Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1937 inauguration speech.

"We are determined to make every American citizen the subject of his country's interest and concern; and we will never regard any faithful law-abiding group within our borders as superfluous. The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

Together, I find these two lines express a philosophy totally unlike President Trump's. Trump favors exclusion. He has consistently fought against protections for "dreamers," undocumented migrants who arrived in the U.S. as children. And he has often spoken out against Mexican and Muslim immigrants, as well as those from countries he deems less than desirable.

Trump's domestic policies favor the "haves" over the "have nots." His tax reform bill disproportionately benefits the very rich and large corporations. And he has an obsession with killing the ACA (Obamacare), which provides health care coverage for otherwise uninsured millions.

Soon, President-elect Joe Biden will give his inauguration speech. He will get an opportunity to present a new direction for leadership. When it comes to the government's treatment of all of us as individuals, citizens or not, I think Biden would be hard pressed to improve on the wise old words of FDR.

Sherman Schapiro

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