Home / General / Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 23

Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 23

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This is the grave of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt.

2016-02-14 10.57.34

There’s no real need to explain the career of the nation’s 2nd greatest president and his remarkable wife. Two truly great Americans. He was significantly more flawed as a person and as a thinker than she, but his leadership in the Great Depression was totally unprecedented, especially considering its not like the Democratic Party of 1932 was filled to the brim with liberals. He was about the most left possible candidate they could have reasonably nominated and then he fully embraced the liberal wing after he took office. Truly remarkable.

The Roosevelts are buried at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Historic Site, Hyde Park, New York.

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  • pianomover
    • c u n d gulag

      I’d like to drink a case of beer and eat a bunch of chili-cheese hot-dogs, right before I wear some shorts, and leave my tribute to “trickle-down” economics!

      Hey, it’s cement, so they shouldn’t mind having to hose my “tribute” down, right?

    • Davis

      Evangelicals would disagree “that man is good”. He is born in sin.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        So, man is good. Right will eventually triumph. Each individual has purpose and worth.

        Compare and contrast with the GOP’s attitudes regarding the Voting Rights Act for half a century now. And the death penalty.

        Hmmm, dangit, once again, my imagination initially failed me. Since 1609, you could say America’s authoritarians could easily reconcile every life having purpose and worth with slavery, as in, you there, you’re purpose is to harvest that rice, and your worth is about $5,000 down in Charleston right now.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Er, make that “your” purpose. Stoopit fingers.

    • Nick056

      I love that the last popular Republican president was born 1911.

  • Bootsie

    I’ve found it interesting that Eleanor stayed in the marriage and acted as Frank’s eyes and ears across the nation even after all the affairs.

    Of course most of it was just how things were done in among the upper class in the 10s-30s, but I wonder if part of it was Eleanor’s reasoning that she could do more good for the world if she played the part of Franklin’s happy wife and partner-in-crime.

    • Dilan Esper

      One thing to remember about affairs is that there is basically zero reason to be truly offended by someone rubbing their genitals in a pleasurable manner against another person’s body. Monogamy is just a big social construct with deep roots in religion, tradition, the patriarchy, etc.

      Lots of people, when presented with the situation, realize that it’s stupid to throw a good partnership away over such a stupid thing.

      • Brett

        You mean aside from the fear that a partner will develop intimate feelings for someone else and leave you, the possibility of sexual diseases being accidentally transferred, etc?

        If anything, I think it’s the opposite. People tend to mostly default to monogamous relationships when the power imbalance is lessened, because one or both partners can threaten to leave if the other cheats.

        Lots of people, when presented with the situation, realize that it’s stupid to throw a good partnership away over such a stupid thing.

        I don’t consider it a stupid thing at all. People might decide to stay in the relationship despite it happening, but that’s usually because the costs of separation are high.

        • Dilan Esper

          1. People fall in love with other people whether ypu enforce monogamy or not.

          2. Plenty of people are able to have casual sex with people they don’t fall in love with.

          3. 1 and 2 ensure that insisting on monogamy does zero to stop your partner from falling for someone else.

          4. STD’s are transmitted when people don’t use protection. Monogamy standards actually increase transmission, as fewer people in committed relationships use protection.

          5. Also plenty of people have affairs when their life partner is no longer banging them anyway.

          6. The STD’s we really worry about are not that common in affairs anyway. People are far more likely to get them from being promiscuous, not from having 2 mistresses or something.

          7. The STD thing is a deflection anyway. People get all bent out of shape about someone else’s genitals contacting their spouse’s even when protection is used.

          8. For the historical connections between monogamy and patriarchy, read Sex At Dawn. And no, in an unequal society, women often have to stay while men get to leave.

          9. It’s totally stupid. Sex is a recreational activity. You should no more care who your wife does it with than who she plays chess with or gets a massage from.

          • Jordan

            Have you thought about writing a relationship advice book?

            • The Dilan Esper Sex Book is sure to be a best seller!

              • Jordan

                It would certainly lead us into a more enlightened age.

                • Pseudonym

                  Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Dilan Esper is from the Andromeda Galaxy?

                • Jordan

                  Only if Dilan agrees that the Andromeda Galaxy is the to the left of the Milky Way. Otherwise no.

                • Pseudonym

                  Whether it’s to the left just depends on your priors.

                • Jordan

                  I suppose it does depend on your frame of reference.

                  /your joke was more funny, though.

      • sonamib

        People are not robots, Dilan. Even if there were no “objective” reason for people to feel this way*, a majority of humans dislike the thought of their partner having sex with someone else. If you try to nudge them (us) into a non-monogamous arrangement, chances are you will provoke a lot of unhappy, resentful relationships.

        Anyway, as long as everything is consensual, I don’t really see any problem whatsoever with either open or monogamous relationships.

        *Though check out Brett’s arguments.

        • Dilan Esper

          A majority of humans are taught from a young age that this is the worst thing in the world. In societies that don’t teach that, humans don’t care.

          It’s got as much validity as organized religion, IOW, none.

          • How did this political discussion get derailed by Dilan’s robotic attitudes towards sexuality?

            • dr. hilarius

              No no no no sweetheart let me mansplain this to you. It’s the patriarchy that’s keeping you chicks down, you dig? You’re the robot man! It’s the swingers that are enlightened and flexible man.

              Pass the roach?
              *squint*
              *puff*

          • Tybalt

            I hope you never are hurt like Eleanor Roosevelt was, dear boy.

        • dr. hilarius

          Not to mention, people get to define the contours of their own relationships. Whether monogamy is “objectively” rational or whatever the fuck is completely irrelevant. If you want to sleep around, look for a partner who’s ok with that. If you value monogamy, that’s your right. No matter how much some smug lawyer preens about monogamy being a social construct. But then I get nothing out of tsk tsking people so I guess I don’t understand.

      • dr. hilarius

        Is there anything Dilan can’t [blank]splain in the most smugly didactic way possible?

        • Origami Isopod

          Polyvangelists are some of the most annoying, smug, unduly self-superior people on earth. It is no surprise that Dilan is one of them.

      • If there was one thing I hoped this discussion would generate, it’s Dilan expressing his opinion on monogamy.

        • Malaclypse

          His views on sex are every bit as interesting as Jennie’s. In the sense that both are sure they are the only ones doing it right.

        • Woodrowfan

          wish granted! oye

        • Brett

          I love it. Doesn’t The LGM Commentariat, by SEK just write itself at this point with such things?

        • Pseudonym

          If you’re not cheating on your wife, Erik, you’re not a True Leftist™.

          • I’ll have to let my wife know about this. She’s Irish Catholic, so I’m sure this announcement will go over well.

          • Also, if yesterday’s music thread is any indication, no only do I need to cheat on my wife, but I need to have sex with said person while listening to the true music of the left: Emerson, Lake, and Palmer albums.

      • AMK

        Well, wasn’t Eleanor a lesbian, and the marriage was something of an upper-crust social convenience for both of them? They couldn’t fulfill each-other in bed anyway, and they both realized they made too good a political team to split up….so what’s the harm in fooling around?

      • Stag Party Palin

        I’m with Dilan on this one. Marriage is the union of a man and one or more women. It’s in the bible. You could look it up.

        And in that day
        seven women shall take hold of one man …

        — Isaiah 4:1

        Is it hot in here or is it just me?

      • Schadenboner

        Subtext becoming text with Dilan again…

      • Monogamy is just a big social construct

        People who put the word “just” before “social construct” don’t understand what they’re talking about.

        Society is why you aren’t starving to death because you couldn’t dig up enough grubs, Dilan.

    • AB

      Fala is buried there as well.

      • Pseudonym

        If it’s not a horse Erik’s not interested.

        • Pseudonym

          (This is specifically in regard to Fala and should not be interpreted as a response to Dilan’s comment above.)

  • c u n d gulag

    In the “All in the Family” song, Archie was one President off.

    And no, I don’t mean “Silent Cal!”

    ‘Mister, we could use a man like Franklin Delano Roosevelt again! ‘

    • njorl

      I wonder what would have happened if, in January 2009, we swore in a white, liberal president who came from wealth and privilege, who enacted all the same measures as Obama. Would there be a widespread public acknowledgement about the great man who led our country, and the world, out of crisis?

      • Ahuitzotl

        Only if he was a Republican

  • Malaclypse

    There’s no real need to explain the career of the nation’s 2nd greatest president and his remarkable wife.

    I don’t understand – you posted FDR’s grave, not Lincoln’s.

    • Davis

      Was Mary Todd remarkable?

      • Malaclypse

        That’s certainly one word to describe her.

    • The Lorax

      Lincoln beats FDR. But FDR clearly is second best. Also, see his leadership through the War.

      Lincoln almost certainly was the most extraordinary person to have been president– I mean in terms of moral and intellectual virtues in the broadly Aristotelian sense. Obama is pretty high on that list, too.

      • Warren Terra

        Obama is pretty high on that list, too.

        So, now we need to start a controversy about where exactly Obama’s real body is buried, his long-form death certificate … a whole “deather” thing.

  • Thom

    Erik, if I remember right you look at LBJ as the greatest US president. I definitely see why. But that little Vietnam thing seems like a problem. Why second greatest?

    • No. Best since FDR, sure.

      • The Lorax

        Nah. That’s Obama.

        • Denverite

          Yeah, this. And I think there is a non-trivial (but losing) case to be made that Obama’s first two terms were more impressive than FDR’s. People forget that FDR at most stopped the bleeding of the Great Depression by 1939. Obama turned the Great Recession into a thriving economy, got the nation out of one war and mostly out of another, etc.

          • JG

            I like Obama but come on, that is ridiculous.

          • No. Absolutely not.

            • Denverite

              I mean, I ultimately agree with you, but to use Paul’s Broncos metaphor, it’s like looking at the 2015 ppg and ignoring the fact that the Broncos defense played a top five most difficult schedule, or that they literally had to defend 20+ more possessions than other top defenses, because the offense was so incompetent.

              Obama didn’t accomplish nearly as much. (Though he accomplished a lot!) But he had a lot stiffer headwinds for most of his term, and the end result was inarguably better (vis a vis Roosevelt circa 1939).

        • Agreed. Obama > LBJ.

          Three million people died during the Vietnam War.

          The margin between LBJ and Obama on domestic policy isn’t even close to the margin between them on foreign/military policy.

    • njorl

      LBJ was the great president who passed the Great Society.
      Lyndon Johnson was that bastard who started the Vietnam War.
      Two totally different guys.

      • one of the blue

        Same guy. Aggressive risky work to resolve our country’s civil rights issues. Aggressive risky work to win the Cold War.

        Not just Vietnam: The Brazil coup, the Dominican Republic invasion, the Ghana coup (Nkrumah), the Indonesia coup.

        Go big or go home.

        “What’s the presidency for?”

  • Edogg

    Let me guess:
    1. Lincoln
    2. Roosevelt (FDR)
    3. Washington

    • Grumpy

      Do we agree that Obama is 5th best so far?

      • Davis X. Machina

        Until we trade up on draft night.

      • BubbaDave

        He and LBJ can flip a coin for 4th vs 5th.

      • JG

        I might but Truman and TR ahead of him.

    • Hercules Mulligan

      I for one (as a relatively recent reader of this blog who enjoys archive bingeing) would love another series of “best/worst presidents” arguments by our assorted authors.

      • Bootsie

        Part 23 in a series on why James Buchanan was a shithead.

      • njorl

        I like to divide them into two categories – better than William Henry Harrison or worse. He’s like “the Mendoza line” for presidents, except a lot more presidents fall below the line than baseball players.

    • Yes.

    • Woodrowfan

      I might flip GW and FDR but those three in the top spots for sure. And a noticeable gap between them and the near-greats at the next level.

      • CP

        I’m inclined to put George Washington at the top, simply because the man could have been the American Napoleon if he wanted to, but chose not to – and his decision not to basically enabled the next forty-three presidents, orderly transitions of power and all.

        • Yeah, the importance of that decision cannot be overstated.

          We also cannot overstate the importance of John Adams peacefully ceding power to the opposing party.

          • Yay! Adams’ action was every bit as important as Washington’s.

        • JG

          I gotta step in for my boy Napoleon here: the comparison is unfair because the situations were completely different. GW is initiating a new system while Boney is reforming a completely dysfunctional one (albeit using self-serving means).

    • AMK

      Teddy Roosevelt certainly belongs in the top 5.

      Accomplishments aside, he’s easily the most interesting human being to hold the job. Obama is probably #2.

      • JG

        I think TR, Wilson, Truman, and LBJ are really hard to judge. Both did a ton of good and bad.

      • Fuck TR. Being “interesting” doesn’t mean shit. What TR had was a huge media strategy. But he was a horrible human being.

        • AMK

          Oh come on now…TR got the ball rolling on progressive economic reform and environmentalism for the next 100+ years. And he was certainly a better human being than George “slaves and smallpox blankets” Washington.

          To answer JG above, Wilson’s reforms were an extension of TR’s, and his League of Nations failed, and he was a raging racist. Truman desegregated the military (which was good of course, but not exactly a top 5 achievement) and junked FDR’s plans for a productive postwar relationship with the Soviets, so not good.

          So that leaves LBJ with the Great Society programs and Civil rights legislation….which more than balance out Vietnam (which he didn’t start anyway). So he’s #4, TR is #5.

        • c u n d gulag

          …Just came through the wires!:
          As great as TR was…
          He was a racist.

          Yes.
          Check any real biography of him that’s not some hagiogrophy, and you’ll find he was Aryan racist, and thought the Japanese were some Oriental version of ‘Uber MencheN – a few decades before you know who,” Godwin forbid:
          “Hitler.

  • Mike in DC

    Most frequently referred to by conservatives and Republicans of the time as “that man in the White House.” I think every Democratic President since has been literally hated by Republicans.

    • skate

      That would include my grandfather, who am I told “Would not have voted for Jesus Christ if he was on the Democratic ticket.”

      • Pseudonym

        Well, he wasn’t born here, his mother wasn’t an American citizen, and we don’t even know who his father was.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          And he was Jewish. And MIddle Eastern. And a non-union carpenter?

          • Pseudonym

            I’m pretty sure he was actually an anarcho-syndicalist.

    • EliHawk

      I dunno. I think since Washington you always had a President hated by at least a certain subset of the opposing party. But JFK and others had approvals so high they had to get some from people who supported the opposing candidate. Even the Bushes had moments with 80/90 percent approval. What’s changed in recent years is how unanimous that disapproval/opposition from the other party is: Even getting Osama Bin Laden, the kind of thing that would have led to a bump of Presidential approval to the high 80s a decade prior, only nudged Obama up to the high 50s.

    • Origami Isopod

      In one of his books, P.J. O’Rourke made sure to tell everyone how much his grandmother loathed Roosevelt.

  • Tybalt

    She is one of my favourite figures in history, and certainly one of my very few favourite Americans. Wise, wise, wise in many ways, yet understated. And her writing style is delightful. No piece of writing was too unimportant for E.R. not to take the care to amuse and impart, wisely and well.

    • The Lorax

      Top 5 Americans I would love to have dinner with. In something like the order with which I would.

      1. Lincoln
      2. Frederick Douglass
      3. MLK
      4. ER
      5. Jefferson

      • CP

        I’m not sure who all my top 5 are, but FDR and Truman are definitely on the list, as is Thaddeus Stevens from the previous century.

      • The answer to this question is Paul Robeson.

        • Barry Freed

          Hell yeah

  • heckblazer

    I went to Eleanor Roosevelt College at UC San Diego. They officially named it after her my sophomore year; Hillary Clinton gave the keynote address.

    • Schadenboner

      How much did it cost UCSD?

      (I kid, I kid…)

      (Only, not really…)

  • West

    Did you do the house tours at Hyde Park and Val-Kill? My daughter and I did, back when she was about 14, and we both thought the Val-Kill tour was better. We thought the Val-Kill tour guide did a better job handling the nuances of the – shall we say – ‘complicated’ set of relationships going on, as compared to the tour guide at Hyde Park. She was also better at overall context of how the Val-Kill house fit into the political world Eleanor built. Not that the Hyde Park one was a bad tour, just a bit blander, with some dancing around the racier parts (or, well, the rumors of racier parts, I should say).

    • JG

      I didn’t do the Val-Kill tour because we would have had to wait like two hours. Hyde Park is great, though.

  • JG

    God bless the Roosevelts

    • Emily68

      My husband, as part of an assignment in history class in high school, had to interview someone and write a paper about it. He interviewed his grandfather who had owned a bank in a small town in North Dakota, and the bank went belly-up during the depression. His grandfather believed that FDR and the New Deal had saved the country from a revolution. We’d have all been Commies without him. That’s not quite “God bless the Roosevelts” but pretty close.

  • Donnaquixote

    You wouldn’t think so based on today’s toxic political environment but FDR himself was a much revered President in the state where he spent much of his free time and built the rather modest “Little White House” at Warm Springs. They’ve a newly updated museum there and one can view a 20 minute video of his travels and stays at Warm Springs as well as how he came to the area because of the skprings.

    I’ve been recently reading a bio of Frances Perkins who had interesting takes on Al Smith versus FDR and on her relationship with Eleanor. Of course, IMO, Frances Perkins deserves to be on the 10 dollar bill along with some others. She was the first female to serve in a Presidential administration.

    If you’re ever down this way, I highly recommend a visit to the Little White House and to its museum. It’s all part of the State parks system, interestingly enough, given the control of all levers of state power by parsimonious Republicans. Truth to tell, they’ve been hard at work making all the parks “pay for themselves”. Warm Spring has a foundation that helps supports its programming.

    • JG

      Perkins is such an amazing woman

  • Donnaquixote

    You wouldn’t think so based on today’s toxic political environment but FDR himself was a much revered President in the state where he spent much of his free time and built the rather modest “Little White House” at Warm Springs. They’ve a newly updated museum there and one can view a 20 minute video of his travels and stays at Warm Springs as well as how he came to the area because of the springs which helped with his polio.

    I’ve been recently reading a bio of Frances Perkins who had interesting takes on Al Smith versus FDR and on her relationship with Eleanor. Of course, IMO, Frances Perkins deserves to be on the 10 dollar bill along with some others. She was the first female to serve in a Presidential administration. And she’s the one who’s truly responsible for Social Security.

    If you’re ever down this way, I highly recommend a visit to the Little White House and to its museum. It’s all part of the State parks system, interestingly enough, given the control of all levers of state power by parsimonious Republicans. Truth to tell, they’ve been hard at work making all the parks “pay for themselves”. Warm Springs has a foundation that helps supports its programming.

    Sorry about the duplicate post. Don’t see a way to delete the dupe. Interestingly I’ve never ever done that on any blog. Always a first time, I suppose.

    • EliHawk

      To be fair, from 1876 to 2002 Democrats controlled all levers of state government, the park dates from long before they got their hands on them.

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