With a little license for condensing, consider the following:
“President Jacobs, members and friends of Oglethorpe University, and especially you, my fellow members of the class of 1932.”
Yes, you read that right, the class of 1932 and these words were spoken by one of the graduates of that class, albeit an honorary one that day, May 22, 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The class with which FDR graduated had begun school four years before, in the fall of 1928.
“Four years ago, if you heard and believed the tidings of the time, you could expect to take your place in a society well supplied with material things and you could look forward to the not too distant time when you would be living in your own homes, each, if you believed the politicians, with a two-car garage, and, without great effort, would be providing yourselves and your families with all the necessities and amenities of life.
Much has been written about the hope of youth. I prefer to emphasize another quality. I hope that you have spent four years in an institution whose fundamental purpose is to train you to pursue truths relentlessly and to look at them courageously and to face the world before you with greater clarity of vision than many of your elders.
You have been struck by the tragic irony of our economic situation today. We have an abundance of raw materials, an ample supply of manufacturing equipment, all the transportation and commercial facilities we need, yet millions of able-bodied men and women in dire need are clamoring for the opportunity to work. I believe we are at the threshold of a fundamental change in the popular economic thought, that in the future we are going to think less about the producer and more about the consumer. We cannot endure for long unless we can bring about a wiser, more equitable distribution of the national income.
We need the courage of the young. Yours is not the task of making your way in the world, but the task of remaking the world you will find before you.”
That’s from 80 years ago. All I can say is, Amen.