DECEMBER 17, 1940
WASHINGTON, Monday—Late yesterday afternoon we attended the party given by Mr. Mark Foote, the President of the Gridiron Club, and Mrs. Foote, at which some of the stunts and songs of the previous night's dinner were repeated for the benefit of the ladies. It was really a delightful performance and this year they made fun of themselves as well as of their distinguished guests.
I always enjoy these entertainments. Even when it seems that they are bit cruel to some of the people, I feel it is probably good for us to see ourselves as others see us, even though the way they see us is not always strictly truthful according to our own ideas.
However, I am a little doubtful sometimes whether any of us, in ourefforts to be amusing, should ever lampoon anything which is attached to an ideal which must be preserved and, therefore, we cannot risk destroying even by gentle humor. I may, of course, be wrong about this. Any ideal which cannot survive lampooning and satirizing may not be worth consideration as an ideal, but the fact that it is an ideal is something that should be kept in mind by all of us who have a funny-bone and a tendency to little reverence.
I received a communication from the United Mine Workers the other day, which I think we should consider very carefully. Many of you have probably read with horror, as I have, of accidents in various mines. The total of human lives lost may seem small when we consider the war in Europe, but it is important to a nation at peace. There is a bill which was introduced in Congress, known as the Neely-Keller Mine Inspection Bill. Since its introduction, 1,598 workers have died in accidents, some of which are believed to be due to faulty inspection.
I know only too well that no legislation can completely correct any situation, but it seems to me that the people of this country would not want to neglect any steps which might make a little safer the lives of the men in this industry, which is basic in our economy. Perhaps you will get this bill and read it and talk to your representatives about the whole situation of safeguarding our workers in this industry, as well as in many other hazardous industries.
I spoke on a panel last night for a meeting of the Washington League of Women shoppers, but I confess the experts with whom I sat were much better fitted to cope with the problems than I was. A press conference this morning, one appointment and a few minutes snatched here and there to do up packages in my Christmas closet, are about all I can report so far today. We are about to go down to lunch and our guest will be Mrs. de Grippenberg, and Englishwoman who is over here speaking for the Red Cross.