The First Ted Talks

That Teddy Roosevelt, that guy.

I was thinking of something he said this morning. Not so much about who he was. But that really deserves a fair remembrance.

He started out as Vice President in March 1901, to William McKinley. And wouldn’t you know, just a year or so into the deal, someone got really hacked off at Will and shot him. Twice. In the gut. And it killed him. The shooter’s name was Leon Czolgosz. Leon was an anarchist. (That sort of sounds like a catchy new tune: Leon was an anarchist.)

Anyway, that put Theodore Roosevelt in the driver’s seat. At age 42, he became the youngest person to become president of the United States.

He did a whole lot for the good old US of A. He was a stalwart leader of the Progressive movement. As such, he championed his “Square Deal” domestic policies. He promised things to the average citizen — like fairness, regulation of railroads, and pure food and drugs. All those things were a pretty dang big deal at the start of the 20th Century. Young Ted.

Here is another huge thing he did. He made Conservation a top priority. Conservation you say? Yes. He established many new national parks, forests, and monuments. All around our country. His big intention was to preserve the nation’s natural resources. Smart guy. Tally-ho and all of that.

Most people don’t know that he won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize. Foreign policy stuff. He brokered the end of the Russo-Japanese War, and that won him the Prize. With the White Doves. Truthfully, the Peace Prize is really just a gold coin, with Alfred Nobel’s head on the front, and three naked-looking-guys, hugging on the back. But they probably have white doves a the ceremony.

Back to the Presidency of TR. In polls of historians and political scientists, Roosevelt is generally ranked as one of the five best presidents. And for good reason, I might add.

But I am writing all this about him, when I mostly wanted to mention one of his most famous quotes.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Years ago, I thought of this quote much differently. Then, it seemed to be talking about the poor, doing what they could, with the little bit they had. Where ever they were living, in their poorness.

But. Now. It has a much different meaning for me. In these current times we are in.

Now. To me. It means taking little steps. It says, that no matter how small the effort, it is an effort in the right direction. That quote reminds us that no matter what ability we possess, it means something.

Even if it means conserving water, placing a phone call to a politician, recycling a can, or acting in kindness, behaving without bigotry, showing awareness…. anywhere…. anytime, it is making a difference. It may seem futile, but it is not. Those little things add up. Those little GOOD things add up.

Just like the bad things do.

Let’s just make sure The Good Pile is bigger.


Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. — Dalai Lama


We can’t help everyone. But everyone can help someone. — Ronald Reagan


Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you. — Anonymous