Tips for Bush
by PAT MURPHY
2001 struggling with the hideous attack on its people is far different
than the America of 1941 when Japanese bombs turned most of the U.S. Navyís
Pacific fleet into a humiliating inferno of flaming steel hulks on Dec. 7,
round-the-clock live TV news, only radio reports and newsreel footage of
Pearl Harbor that was days late at neighborhood theaters as well as
censored newspaper stories were our sole news sources.
simpler, the world smaller, people less cynical.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt inspired Americans to maximum effort
against Axis powers 60 years ago may provide clues for President Bush on
ways to muster Americans for the long war on terrorism.
Americaís rage and patriotism from 1941 to 1945, FDR became a central
figure with his radio fireside chats, plus creating an orchestrated
environment that nurtured nationalism, just as he had done to help
Americans survive the Great Depression of the early 1930s.
eloquence ("Never before have we had so little time in which to do so
much"; "This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with
destiny" and "The only thing we have to fear is fear
itself") boosted self-confidence and morale.
("Loose lips sink ships") reminded Americans of the domestic
threat of spies and saboteurs. Shared shortages (gas, meat and sugar
rationing), shared volunteerism (collecting scrap rubber and metals for
recycling) and self-initiative (homes had Victory Gardens of vegetables)
created unity of effort and purpose.
months, the sleeping American giant bounced back, and unleashed a
fearsome, furious war machine that crushed the Japanese and helped
pulverize Adolph Hitlerís Nazi Germany and the estimable Italian
dictator Benito Mussolini.
"The Greatest Generation" celebrated in Tom Brokawís book
about World War II.
were filled with fierce pride, whether marching off to war, working on the
home front in factories, or volunteering in countless roles.
stay-at-home teenager could serve: along with others too old or too young
for the military, I was as an Aircraft Warning Service spotter, manning a
30th-floor tower four hours each day in the Biltmore Hotel-cum-Army
Hospital in Coral Gables, Fla., watching for enemy aircraft that never
Cabinet ĺ critics called them propagandists ĺ persuaded Hollywood to
crank out uplifting film entertainment. Celebrities who hadnít enlisted
or been drafted dominated War Bond fund-raising drives in large and small
towns, collecting dimes and dollars for weapons.
became pen pals to GIs up front.
George Bush lacks Franklin Rooseveltís eloquence and preparation to
lead, he can quickly mature and develop a style for handling the pain
ahead. He also has the advantages of a stronger industrial economy and
question is whether the 21st century American psyche for quick
gratification, quick results and instant solutions has the capacity for a
drawn-out, tedious often disappointing campaign against terrorism.
Co. must find ways, as FDR did 60 years ago, to keep the attention of
Americans on the demanding task at hand.