APRIL 13, 1939
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—I had a letter yesterday from a woman who takes me solemnly and somewhat bitterly to task because she finds that I am "just as silly as other women." She remarks sadly that those who really suffer in the world today, day in and day out, rarely get any sympathy, but I will write a column on the subject of a passing anxiety when my daughter had a baby. That certainly is sufficiently transient to go by unnoticed, says she, and I have proved myself a foolish sentimentalist.
Perhaps she is right, and I accept her reproof. The pain which results in joy is not to be thought of in the same breath as the kind of pain which simply means a weakening of the power to live with joy. Poor woman! I imagine she is suffering constantly, and it may not be just physical suffering but mental suffering, which can mean even greater torment. A letter such as this makes me wonder how many people in the world have so much to bear themselves, that sympathy for anyone else is out of the question.
I have just come from a luncheon given by the wives of the members of the Seventy-Fifth Congress. This group eats a comparatively simple meal, though it seemed to me sufficient for anyone's lunch, and makes its members pay for a banquet, with the result that what is left over from the actual lunch cost may be used to help some young person. Last year, in this particular case, they gave a wheelchair to a crippled boy. He now has an opportunity to study bookkeeping but his stumbling block is the expense of transportation, so this year they will help him out on that.
It must give them a tremendous sense of satisfaction. For him it will mean the difference between being dependent all his life and having some way by which he can earn a living.
It seems to me that the newspapers these days are full of wars and rumors of wars, but I do not think that the contention that this country is in need of a society to keep us out of war is very well founded. Neither do I think that the country is being pushed into a state of war hysteria.
This country knows very well that we do not want to go to war. We have nothing to gain by taking other people's territory. There is very little we need from any other nation and we can obtain what we need without the use of force. We know, however, that there are things which we can lose. Every time a nation which has known freedom loses it, other free nations lose something too. They find themselves undergoing a gradual process of amputation.
This country knows that at some time amputations of freedom must cease and the world knows that the weight of our resources must be thrown on the side that will permit us to open a newspaper without wondering what new nation has been enslaved. We are not in danger of war hysteria, but calmly as we may survey the world, we realize that when this type of hysteria is abroad, one never knows at what point it will engulf even those most anxious to remain quietly on the outskirts.