Listen Up, President Obama. Martha Stewart Has Good Advice for You.

Dec 7, 2010Harvey J. Kaye

fdr-obama-taleThe Domestic Queen has excellent taste -- in presidents.

Last week, Martha Stewart spoke more progressively on the Hallmark Channel than anyone in the Obama Administration has for some time in any venue -- indeed, more progressively than all the liberal talking heads on MSNBC. I just hope someone in the White House was tuned in.

To be quite clear, I don't usually watch the Martha Stewart Show. However, I received a note from Ambassador William vanden Heuvel and Ms. Gina Pollara of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park Project in New York City informing me that Stewart was going to feature the park project on her show. As one of the historical advisers to the project, now under construction on Roosevelt Island, I knew I had to watch. And I was not disappointed.

Stewart broadcast a 10-minute film on the making of the FDR Four Freedoms Park that she herself narrated. In it, she told the story of its design and planning; indicated how the $50 million project had been suspended for nearly forty years due to a shortage of funds; related how it had been revived and was now progressing; and noted that if all goes well, financially and otherwise (several million dollars still need to be raised), it is hoped that the park will open sometime in 2012.

Sign up for weekly ND20 highlights, mind-blowing stats, event alerts, and reading/film/music recs.

Moreover, Stewart smartly included a slide show and audio of FDR delivering the Four Freedoms speech on January 6, 1941, as the peroration to his Annual Message to Congress:

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression...
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way...
The third is freedom from want...
The fourth is freedom from fear...

Stewart did a splendid job of it. But what really thrilled me was what she told her viewers afterward. Closing the segment, she looked out at her studio and television audience and said: "I wish somebody would give that speech right today. We need to hear it again."

Listen up President Obama -- Martha Stewart has some good advice for you!

Harvey J. Kaye is the Ben & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Social Change and Development at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the author of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America. He serves as an historical adviser to the Four Freedoms Park project.

Share This