People say polio humanized FDR.
What does that mean?
He lost the use of his legs,
Never to walk again.
What’s humanizing about that?
Just as likely to make you bitter.
And for many, perhaps most, it does.
In the Georgia countryside
There’s a place called Warm Springs
where FDR went to “take the cure.”
The springs had no impact on his polio
Or anyone else’s.
But the photos tell the story.
In the pool —
FDR in his one piece tank top swimsuit
with that beautiful
welcoming Roosevelt smile.
Surrounded by his fellow patients.
Children and adults
This son of privilege
From Hudson Valley gentry
Sharing the pain and humiliation
Of this crippling disease.
That’s what takes talent
and a Harvard education
And produces a leader.