Welcome to the Roosevelt Society’s website and mouth piece, The Roosevelt Review. The Roosevelt Society is a new debate society on grounds with a liberal perspective dedicated to elevating public discourse through probing, civil discussion of public affairs. To find out more about us, please visit our About page.
The Roosevelt Society is now actively recruiting new society members as well as Review contributors. We meet every Monday from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at Jefferson Hall. You can learn more from our Facebook page and the event invite we send out on Facebook. Once a member, provisional and full, you may also apply to one our four committees right here.
An Opening Note
Donald J. Trump’s success in the polls is reflective of a widespread fantasy that no insignificant part of the American people indulge in: that governance is easy. “How are you going to build a nineteen hundred mile wall?” Jorge Ramos, a Univision anchor, asked Mr. Trump after having been ejected from a similar event the previous day. Mr. Trump replied, cutting him off, “Very easy. I’m a builder. That’s easy.” What the Donald missed is that the question was not about how he could physically build that wall, but rather how he could make it a political reality. The data shows that voters who favor Mr. Trump cite his personality and believe that he is a person “who gets things done.” He can implement his ludicrous, expensive, and drastic policy solutions by the sheer force of his will, his supporters rave.
But public policy is not as simple as deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country and moving on to the next issue. Such a massive, inhumane undertaking, not to mention that it is a political impossibility, would do more than just break apart millions of families. It would lead to rising labor costs, lower aggregate demand, less revenue towards Social Security and the general fund, a huge waste of taxpayers’ money, and most probably a migrant and humanitarian crisis on a disastrous scale. But weighing consequences and scratching beyond the surface are not Mr. Trump’s strong suits.
The choices we face as a nation are complicated, and we never have all of the facts at our disposal. Mr. Trump taps into our lazy tendency to boil it all down to soundbites and empty slogans. We at the Roosevelt Society find solid footing in the liberal camp of the American ideological spectrum. We believe that the path to a better, fairer, more just and democratic society is made possible by a government dedicated to curbing capitalism’s excesses through appropriate regulation, assuring the social and economic welfare of its citizens, and striving to reduce inequity. This is how we form a more perfect union. But just as importantly, we believe public discourse is vital to a functioning democracy because the only way to get at the stuff and soul of its complexities is to question and discuss, and then question and discuss some more. Oversimplification, the dumbing down of our politics and its increasingly blurred overlap with entertainment pose a grave threat to effective citizen government, and only more discourse, more engagement, more deliberation and contemplation can counter it.
Our greatest hope at the Roosevelt Society is to be able to provide a voice for liberalism and a space on grounds for civil discussion. Again, the Society takes a liberal political stance, but we respect and invite all points of view. Exclusion weakens discourse. As a nation on the cusp of another presidential election cycle and as a University healing from last year’s cascading tumult and tragedy, we need such a space more than ever.
If any of what you read so far appeals to you, we invite you to explore our website and the content we are producing, to come to weekly meetings, and sign-up for membership. We also seek regular weekly or biweekly contributors to the Roosevelt Review. Thank you for reading this, and we hope to serve the University of Virginia community for the indefinite future.
Disclaimer: Although this organization has members who are University of Virginia students and may have University employees associated or engaged in its activities and affairs, the organization is not a part of or an agency of the University. It is a separate and independent organization which is responsible for and manages its own activities and affairs. The University does not direct, supervise or control the organization and is not responsible for the organization’s contracts, acts or omissions.