You don’t have to be cruel to be strong

Today on CBS Morning News, veteran broadcaster Bob Shieffer quoted FDR reinforcing his point that this vote is a referendum on us. FDR said, “a nation does not have to be cruel to be strong.”

This quote sums up the actions of the US President who has self-proclaimed he governs off “fear.” He has lied to and bullied allies, the media and anyone who dares criticize him. He paints groups of people as evil and enemies of the people. Why is the question we must ask?

My mantra is do not mistake kindness for weakness. But FDR says it a different way. We don’t have to be cruel to be strong. Strength is using your power only as the very last option, not the first. Leaders who want to wage war tend to be the ones who have never fought.

Let me close with a lesson from Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” When Atticus showed restraint when the real criminal spit in his face after Atticus fought to save a black man on trial, that showed a courage which too many did not understand. Atticus did not give his power away to this reprehensible man.

So, what kind of country do we wish to be? Do we want to be civil and strong or cruel and untrustworthy?

12 thoughts on “You don’t have to be cruel to be strong

  1. To me, quiet strength and dignity win the day, but these days, I think perhaps I am in the minority, for it seems that the goal of politicians is to be louder and more obnoxious than the others. Frankly, I would like to see someone use a tube of super glue on Donald Trump’s lips and fingers so he would shut up for a while. His bullying has sickened this nation.

    • Jill, I agree. The perception of strength, or any trait, seems to be given more weight than reality. One only needs to look at the popularity of these faux reality shows, where confrontation is viewed as toughness. One could say the White House is a faux reality show, but the world has to deal with the man who occupies the chair. Keith

    • You are so correct. The strength to hold back or bite your tongue is immense. A friend who was a high school counselor before she passed used to say to her students, “don’t give your power away. If you do not take offense, you are not offended.

      I was listening yesterday to NPR about a duel between two US Congressman around 1840. No one wanted it to happen, even the duelists. But, they both ceded their power to the emotions of each party and one was killed. Keith

  2. Dear Keith,

    President Trump likes the kind of strength that’s on display at a WWE wrestling show. I wonder if he realizes that much of what is done, is not for real.

    President Trump is an example of what I would not want my son to emulate. I bet most Moms feel this way.

    President Trump does not know what empathy is. He is devoid of compassion. His willingness to condone the outrageous behavior of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince MBS for a few dollars, says it all.

    You can bet that he has some kind of monetary deal with Saudi Arabia that is coloring his attitude.
    The GOP lawmakers failure to subpoena the president’s IRS tax forms may have done harm to US national security interests.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, you speak the truth. Pro wrestling is all about perception. Trump is all about the perception. He is a man of little substance, even when he shows it in front of his cult. They just don’t see the obvious mean-spirited and untruthful persona that we see. Keith

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