My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON—I read Dorothy Thompson's article yesterday with a great deal of interest. A dangerous thing, it seems to me, when any one part of this country suggests that it may be a better place for this or that merely because it has cheaper labor to offer. That never has been a thing, as far as I know, that we have been proud of. When we could not get enough labor we threw our doors open to labor from other countries to open up our mines, to build our railroads, and start our industries. Even then we did not boast that this was cheap labor. It was labor that we needed and we got it as it came.

Now we have enough labor within our own borders and more than we need to meet our demands, but are we going to become bidders against each other giving as an advantage the fact that we are offering cheap labor? We have it, have it in plenty but we should add that with it usually goes underfed children, low standards of living, poor education—all things we are not proud of. So we are grateful to Dorothy Thompson, for many people will read and reflect on what she says who might possibly pass by a statement in the news without even understanding what it meant.

It is a lovely day today, the air is soft and summer still lingers in its most benignant mood. There are always visitors in Washington and I am glad for their sakes that the flowers in the White House grounds look particularly lovely. Mr. William Reeves who has had charge of the grounds for many years takes as much trouble over every plant as most of us would over a whole garden. He knows a great deal about the grounds, who planted every tree, what the association is with every bush, and I think can practically remember every flower!

Somehow in this lazy, rather southern atmosphere you get the feeling that there is really no reason why any one should ever do anything and I am sure if I stayed here long enough at this time of year, I should be reduced to feeling that tomorrow would always be a better time to do a thing than today.

The only real activity that I can get is reading the papers and realizing that the rest of the world is making a great deal of noise, and everybody is doing his own particular job with as much excitement as though the world would fall to pieces if he went to sleep before it was done!

E.R.
TMsd 22 September 1936, AERP, FDRL