Inauguration of an Unpopular Leader

During his first inaugural address, Franklin D. Roosevelt shared with the nation his belief that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” We’ve praised and repeated this sentiment for nearly seventy-four years now, attracted to its courage and promise. We focus primarily on the positive message that we can overcome almost anything. There is another, more cautionary element tucked inside this iconic line, however. By making “fear” the exception to the infinite list of things we need not fear, he was indeed warning us to be wary of “fear itself.” All of the material and ideological…