This is a re-post of a Thanksgiving essay prepared by patriot/blogger Cynthia Quinn originally posted at Grumpy Opinions on November 21, 2013.
Norman Rockwell was a gifted artist who was able to capture the magic of American tradition and culture. HIs picture telling was a homey one, with paintings that elaborated on scenes of generations of family gathered together around the dining room table, sledding down snowy slopes, skating on frozen ponds, or waiting for Santa’s arrival on Christmas day. For years, the first sign of the holiday season was a Thanksgiving themed cover on the Saturday Evening Post. One of the Post covers most closely associated with Thanksgiving was originally published inside the March 6, 1943 issue. “Freedom From Want” was the third in Norman Rockwell’s series inspired by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” address.
President Roosevelt was a gifted communicator and on January 6, 1941, he addressed Congress and delivered the “Four Freedoms” speech which detailed; Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear. The first two freedoms were consistent with the First Amendment of the Constitution and were not controversial, but the second two were rooted in an expansion of international foreign policy based on his administrations “New Deal,” where the federal government took far more responsibility for the economic welfare of the people than it had in any other administration, and which ultimately became the central tenant of modern American liberalism. Freedom from Fear called for worldwide reduction of armaments so that no nation could threaten any other and Freedom from Want entailed world economic understandings that would secure for every nation a healthy life for its inhabitants. The media declared that the president had given the world “a new Magna Carta of democracy,” and the “Four Freedoms” became the moral cornerstone of the United Nations. After Roosevelt’s death at the end of World War II, his widow Eleanor often referred to the “Four Freedoms” when advocating for passage and helping draft the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, a Declaration that believes “human rights” are created by governments, not by our Creator.
After Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” speech, the Office of War Information (OWI) decided to have the Four Freedoms depicted in posters and enlisted “fine arts men, real artists to render them.” They snubbed Norman Rockwell and instead asked Stuart Davis, Reginald Marsh, Marc Chagall and even Yasuo Kuniyoshi, a native of Japan and seemingly unlikely choice for American war posters, to come up with an appropriate design. Meanwhile, Rockwell spent the next seven months creating his “Four Freedoms,” not for the dismissive government, but for the Saturday Evening Post. His” Four Freedoms” were published in four consecutive issues of the Post, starting on February 20th ,1943 and they were instantly loved. The Office of War Information quickly realized it had made an embarrassing mistake by rejecting Rockwell. The (OWI) then printed 2.5 million Rockwell Four Freedom posters and made his four original paintings the centerpiece of a traveling war bond sales campaign which raised more than 132 million dollars for the war effort.
According to art critic Deborah Solomon, author of “American Mirror, the Life and Art of Norman Rockwell,” the best painting in the series is probably Freedom From Want. It takes you into the dining room of a comfortable American home on Thanksgiving Day. The guests are seated at a long table and no one is glancing at the massive roasted turkey or the gray-haired grandma solemnly carrying it. Solomon says to note the man in the lower right corner, whose very face is pressed up against the picture plane. He has the air of a jovial uncle who perhaps is visiting from New York and who doesn’t entirely buy into the rituals of Thanksgiving. In contrast to traditional depictions of Thanksgiving dinner, which show the pre-meal as a moment of grace with heads lowered and praying hands raised to lips, Rockwell paints a Thanksgiving table at which no one is giving thanks. This is the subject of his painting, not just the sanctity of American traditions, but the casualness with which Americans treat them.
What would the cover of a Saturday Evening Post this December, 2013 depict? Would it show a comfortable middle-class living room being invaded by a threatening, armed swat team confiscating plastic toy guns from beneath the Christmas tree, or a Nativity scene being hacksawed to pieces in front of an idyllic white church in the country? Would the present day cover show a distracted family sitting on a couch playing video games while talking and texting on their government subsidized cell phones, between bites of their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provided fast food chicken nuggets?
“Sometimes we fail to hear or heed these voices of freedom because to us the privilege of our freedom is such an old, old story.” stated Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Thanks to Roosevelt, the old story of “Freedom from Want” has now morphed into a Marxist “social justice” which embraces the redistribution of wealth, or in layman’s terms, a government which feels entitled to rob from the hard working middle class to coddle their lazy ignorant voters and where “Freedom from Fear” has eclipsed into American’s biggest fear, their own intrusive government! Roosevelt’s old “humanitarian” world vision has now transgressed, as was the plan, into a New World Order vision led by a United Nations bent on abolishing the sovereignty of the United States.
Who is to blame for the continual casualness of freedom? In 2 Thessalonians 3, the Apostle Paul warns of the lack of faith in people and reminds them that Christianity does not promote idleness, for if we are idle, the devil and a corrupt heart will soon find us something to do. Casual Christianity is an oxymoron and it is leading America, the leader of the free world, to its demise.This holiday season, may all Americans open their eyes and hearts to the cherished ideals that made the United States of America “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”, for it is only through the grace of God that we can all enjoy a life founded on his principles of freedom.