Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Mascot of the Month Teddy Roosevelt

So Teddy Roosevelt is the Mascot of the Month for December.  It is, I admit, an unusual choice for me.
I tell you why I like him, he was a complex character.  He was a big game hunter, a rancher (in the Dakotas), a lover of the game of the country, a published ornithologist and one of American's first great conservationists.  He was key in creating 5 National Parks, 18 National Monuments and 150 National Forests.
Roosevelt and John Muir in Yosemite
(Bridal Veil Falls in background) That is Yosemite Falls - what was I thinking!!!
He was a man of action who thought war toughened up people and countries, but he always looked for a peaceful way out.  But when there wasn't a peaceful way, he fought with gusto.  In fact, if you read his words, he believe that all men should wage war at some point in their lives.  Like I said, complex.
He was born to great wealth, but lead the fight against worker exploiting trusts.  He also worked with Unions, will preventing strikes.  He passed the Meat Inspection Act, established the Food and Drug Administration, but also worked extensively to promote private sector solutions.  He was given the highest decoration that boy scouting ever gave to a non-scout.
And he was opinionated!  During this month I'll highlight some of his best.  He tackled tough ideas and, although we may look back with disquiet on the state of thought in 1900, his conclusions and actions followed through a logical, non-preset process.
For example, African Americans in 1900 where, in many cases, less that 40 years out of slavery.  Today we know all Americans as equals, but that was a completely different world then.  A world where many Americans had serious doubts as to the ability to ever live with former slaves.  Here are his words and, more importantly, his actions (from Wikipedia & Theodore Roosevelt on Race, Riots, Race and Crime) :

About African Americans, Roosevelt said, "I have not been able to think out any solution of the terrible problem offered by the presence of the Negro on this continent, but of one thing I am sure, and that is that inasmuch as he is here and can neither be killed nor driven away, the only wise and honorable and Christian thing to do is to treat each black man and each white man strictly on his merits as a man, giving him no more and no less than he shows himself worthy to have."[92]
Roosevelt appointed numerous African Americans to federal office, such as Walter L. Cohen of New OrleansLouisiana, a leader of the Black and Tan Republican faction whom he named register of the federal land office.
[92] ^ Roosevelt, Theodore; ed. by Archibald Roosevelt (1968).Theodore Roosevelt on Race, Riots, Reds, Crime. Probe. p. 13.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad John Muir is included......Teddy is an awesome choice! F