It’s time to revitalize FDR’s Four Freedoms

The Washington State House of Representatives convenes for floor debate February 11th, the 32nd day of the 2016 legislative session.

It’s time to revitalize FDR’s Four Freedoms

by Rep. JD Rossetti

Everyday people are right to be angry about how the American Dream is slipping away.

Working moms and dads are putting in more hours than workers in any other nation on earth, yet we can’t get ahead. And we’re worried that our kids will be the first generation of Americans to do worse than their parents.

Unless we change the direction of Washington state and America, the gap between those lucky enough to be born wealthy and the rest of us will be a chasm none of us can hope to cross without a winning lottery ticket and Evil Knievel’s rocket-powered motorcycle.

That’s not what this country is supposed to be about. We must fight hard to change it back.

On Jan. 6, 1941, Pearl Harbor had yet to be bombed and our nation wasn’t yet at war. Yet President Franklin Roosevelt had the vision to see that America needed to show the world an alternative vision to extremism, violence and hate.

In his State of the Union speech, he outlined the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

Exactly 75 years later, it’s worth revisiting those four freedoms, which matter whether you’re living in Longview, Los Angeles or London.

What can we do in Washington state to help our citizens enjoy the Four Freedoms while showing the world a better way?

I believe the best way to give our kids a better life is embrace liberty and opportunity for all.

That means protecting free speech and freedom of worship, because America became great by becoming a beacon of new ideas and a place where everyone is safe to worship as they please.

It means cracking down on cheaters who rig the economic system, to make sure people succeed based on their hard work and talent, not on their connections, lobbyists and legal trickery.

It means tearing down barriers that divide us and uniting behind the idea that every child, rich or poor, deserves a shot at the American Dream, not just the sons and daughters of the wealthy.

Finally, revitalizing FDR’s Four Freedoms means making sure our citizens are safe from crime and terrorism no matter where they live or visit.

Our state won’t prosper if FDR’s words are just a speech students study in U.S. history classes, and America won’t be a shining example to the rest of the world if we succumb to the hot rhetoric of fear.

We are better than that. Our kids deserve better.

And if we put aside partisan labels and work together, we can breathe new life into a great president’s ideas to give our kids the freedom and opportunity they deserve.

Rep. JD Rossetti, D-Longview, lives in Longview with his wife and three sons. He is a small business owner who serves on the Longview School Board.