It was November 8, 1932. FDR was elected President. I campaigned for him in front of the Fire Station-the only Fire Station in town-in new black Mary Janes, with white socks and a pretty new dress my mother made for the occasion. I was 2. “Wote for Wosevelt” I lisped and shook my curls. I’m a born and bred dyed- in- the- wool Democrat. Over the years- and over the radio- my father and I listened to the Fire Side Chats. These were depression years. I was impressed with “. . . the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I was little and scared. My father said, I remember, “Everyone’s afraid, it’s how you handle fear that matters.”
My father and I listened to FDR’s eloquence all through the 30’s. I remember one vividly. On Sunday. Sept. 6, 1936, he spoke about Drought Conditions. I loved his voice. Afterwards I asked my father, “How can he know so much? He’s just one man,” and my father said, ” He’s advised by the best and brightest. You can be, too. That’s what books are for.”
My father gave me Bertrand Russell’s An Essay on the Foundation of Geometry- of which I understood nothing-but when a course in Geometry was offered I ate it up. I loved Geometry. I also liked, “Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” Russell was the first non-believer I encountered. He also said, “Beware the man who cannot say it simply.”
It’s 2015. Recently I received a letter from someone I admire very much. He lives on Kauai. Not a politician. Not a celebrity. A great human being. This person asked me not to reveal his name but he did send me this, AMIDA’S GOLDEN CHAIN OF LOVE… We are all links in Buddha’s chain of love. Keep your link bright and strong. Try to be kind and gentle to every living thing and protect they who are weaker than yourself. Think pure and beautiful thoughts…make every link in Amida’s Chain of Love bright so we may we all attain perfect peace…. I shortened the piece. Five hundred words, remember? My friend and his philosophy are surely the best and brightest. Who’s going to argue with Buddha?
Another incredible human being, Steve Saylor, a visitor on Kauai-with a very different point of view- is writer and star, educator and entertainer, of several brilliant videos. I met Steve’s mother, Joellen at a Quaker Meeting at my house and she remembered me. His work and advice is different from the Buddha’s. Look for Steve Saylor: Eulogy: the death of Monsanto.
These two found me. So different. So important to my life and style today. They came along, wired back- to- back, and filled a need. Just as FDR, my father, and Russell did. And do. Read and watch a variety of varieties and be best and brightest, too. Maybe human kind can make it.