In 1967, Paul Simon was asked to write a song for the movie “The Graduate.”
The song he sang on acoustic guitar was one called, “This is for you, Mrs. Roosevelt.” It is about Eleanor Roosevelt.
Of course, the song became “Mrs. Robinson” suitable for the soundtrack for the upcoming movie. But in memory of the original version, today I start with Eleanor’s uncle, Teddy Roosevelt.
Teddy Roosevelt is the 26th president of the United States. At the age of 42, he is the youngest ever president.
But Roosevelt was already famous when he became president. He is a famous writer, reformer, soldier, outsider, conservative and even politician.
He has served as New York State Congressman, New York City Police Commissioner, New York City Mayor, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and Vice President.
No, folks, celebrity politicians are nothing new. And not politicians like Teddy Roosevelt, want attention.
His daughter Alice said, “My father always wanted to be the corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding and the baby at every Christmas.”
But even so, Teddy Roosevelt was a man who accomplished things. Fame is important to him. But success is more important.
Teddy said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
But if you do not know what to do? Politicians face a difficult problem. Teddy said, “When you’re asked if you can do a job, tell them, ‘I sure can!’ Then get busy and find a way to do it.”
I wrote about the need for the IRS to receive funding. Do not become a huge invasion in our lives. Just to restore the power of the people lost due to deliberate neglect.
Will Teddy approve of the powerful IRS? Well, first, Teddy said “The government is us. We are the government, you and me.”
Teddy also said, “No one is above the law and no one is below it: and we ask no man’s permission when we ask him to obey.”
Teddy reminds me that a famous politician can be good if he is an activist. Today we seem to have politicians who want to hold office just to build their celebrity status.
You and I face many problems as a government. What to do to solve these problems in the next two years? The next four years?
Budget deficit? Meet the social security needs of the aging population? The worst thing you can do is nothing.
People ask if you can work? Just tell them how bad you think the other person is doing. We are the government. Why do we accept celebrities who don’t do this?
Oglethorpe University is a small liberal arts institution in Atlanta. It doesn’t have a football team. It is the site of a famous speech by Teddy Roosevelt’s fifth cousin, also president, Franklin Roosevelt.
Franklin said, “It’s natural to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try something else. But most importantly, try something.”
That must be a Roosevelt trait. Do something, even if it doesn’t work. The worst thing is to do nothing.
Done with a long, busy day at work? Relax in your favorite chair, turn on the TV and hear a famous politician tell you that the other side hates you and the country and needs to be investigated.
Innovative institutions (businesses, non-profits, youth sports organizations, etc.) solve problems with diverse people working together to try something. If that fails, try something else.
You know that’s how you see things accomplished in institutions, including your own family, that you’re involved in.
Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it. May be said by a friend of Mark Twain, and it explains our political fate.
We choose un-Roosevelts. coo, coo ca-choo, Mrs. Roosevelt. Laugh, shout when you have to choose, any way you look at this you will lose.
James R. Hamill is a tax practice director at Reynolds, Hix & Co. in Albuquerque. He can be reached at [email protected]