I have a lot to say about Mr. Roosevelt.
I guess I’ll get the bad stuff out of the way first:
He was an assimilationist and most definitely an imperialist.
He was a racist and eugenicist.
He was relentlessly macho and stoked a hyper-masculine “cowboy” culture in which “being a man” had a lot to do with killing living things and strength through control even though that’s not how he expressed masculinity in his personal life.
He was a big game hunter and was part of generating the interest/demand that drove many species to/close to extinction.
He was also a Life Member of the NRA.
That’s what I have for now though I’m in the middle of several biographical works and will update this page as I have more to say.
As a modern-day, uber-liberal, queer, feminist obviously many of my views are contrary to Roosevelt’s and still — I am inspired by many facets of his personal philosophy and approach to life. I don’t say that to excuse his reprehensible actions but to say that my relationship to him as a person is complicated. Not entirely like enjoying the artistic works of an artist who in his regular life is a douchebag.
Like me, he didn’t get the healthiest start in life. We were both born asthmatic. We were both sick often as kids. He was told by multiple people that his physical condition would determine what he could and could not do and … he rejected the naysayers.
Like me, people frequently called attention to the loudness of his opinions.
Like me, he believed in things like: monopoly-busting, truth in advertising, preserving natural wonders as national parks free to all, the right of citizens to rule ourselves, pro-regulation of corporations, conservation, venturing out to see the world. When splitting from his own political party, he said: “This country belongs to the people. Its resources, its business, its laws, its institutions, should be utilized, maintained, or altered in whatever manner will best promote the general interest.” He believed strongly in the balance of strength and courage with gentleness, tenderness, and great unselfishness.
His Square Deal emphasized conservation of natural resources, control of corporations, and consumer protection. While president, he referred to “the representatives of predatory wealth” as “guilty of “all forms of iniquity from the oppression of wage workers to defrauding the public.” He may be the closest we’ve ever come to having a Socialist president!
In short, despite all of the terrible stuff he did or participated in, I still feel a connection and yet this blog is in no way a blanket endorsement of his actions. Oh, and there’s the fact that he died on my birthday. That’s a creepy coincidence.