My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—I was struck this morning by an item in the paper giving the number of dead and wounded in Spain. It came over me again what a fearful waste it is that we have to go killing each other before even a difference of opinion can be settled amongst people of the same nation. I think the part which annoys one is the stupidity of wasting so much energy, vitality and ability just to destroy people and things when at the moment everywhere we need to conserve people to build up material possessions.

On top of this I walked through Fourteenth Street and for days now I have seen pickets walking up and down bearing signs which say we are the employees of —- shop, striking because of unfair conditions or poor wages or whatever it may be. At best this must mean the employer has had to get new employees who are not as efficient as the experienced ones and who therefore cost him money. On the other hand a group of employees are out of work and must either be supported by their unions, their families or by the government. Of course, new employees are taken on but they are less efficient and probably get lower pay and therefore the general buying power is lowered. Waste again and stupidity. Why can not we sit down together with a board of arbitration, honestly state our difficulties and try to work out a sane method of procedure?

Of course, as some one said to me: "All you are trying to do is to change human beings, they never have been sensible, they have always believed in force and resorted to it in the last analysis." Well, it seems to me the time has come to realize that if we are going on in this manner we are going to have some pretty difficult times.

Read the story of the new invention for picking cotton. It may not be perfect yet, it may not work so well in hilly country as on the plains, but it is just a question of time before it is improved. More men and women out of work. Unless we have sense enough to sit down and discuss how to use this new invention and many others, so as to bring happiness, comfort and leisure to human beings and not unemployment, starvation and despair, then we deserve the hard times which surely will come our way. The inventors with their knowledge which has harnessed the forces of nature for the use of human beings are setting up a challenge for us. Can we become unselfish and intelligent enough to meet this challenge? And begin to wipe out the orgy of waste in human life on which we seem to be embarked the world over?

E.R.
TMsd 2 September 1936, AERP, FDRL