Wednesday, September 4, 2013
No Shrinking Violet
(Harry Hokins, 1938. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)
The WPA was created, and was so successful, because of the strength of Harry Hopkins--its first and most well-remembered director. Hopkins was no shrinking violet. To one criticism of the WPA, Hopkins said: "...dumb people criticize something they do not understand...I have no apologies to make. As a matter of fact, we have not done enough" (from Harry Hopkins: Sudden Hero, Brash Reformer, by June Hopkins, 1999).
We have very few leaders like Hopkins today, and that is why we don't have another WPA, even though we have endured the worst period of long-term unemployment since World War II. Today, our "leaders" are more concerned with the wealth of the wealthy than with Americans who need help. And maybe that's why more Americans are killing themselves (see "Suicide Rate Rises Sharply in U.S.," New York Times, May 2, 2013).
We need more leaders like Harry Hopkins, and fewer Wall Street marionettes.