Theodore Roosevelt, our 26th president (1901-09), is featured on Mount Rushmore next to Abraham Lincoln, his fellow Republican. Teddy’s foreign policy invoked a famous maxim: “speak softly and carry a big stick,” and he was the first of four presidents to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Our current president seems to believe in speaking loudly, while bragging about the size of his hands.
Spurred by the excesses of the Gilded Age, Roosevelt’s domestic program, the “Square Deal,” was part of a nationwide Progressive movement. Its three basic goals: conservation of natural resources, control of corporations and consumer protection. He founded the Forest Service and National Monument system, helping ferment the modern environmental movement; he protected workers’ rights, while breaking up banking, oil and railroad monopolies; and he saw the passage of pure food and drug regulations, while taking the first sets toward a national health care system.
Trump’s program should be called the “No Deal.” His only agenda is the elimination of any accomplishment with Obama’s name attached; his vindictiveness is taking us backwards with a goal of ushering in a new Gilded Age — a period of greed, corruption, inequality and environmental degradation. What would Teddy’s neighbor, Abe, say?
Kurt Montgomery, Los Osos