JANUARY 6, 1941
WASHINGTON, Sunday—I reached New York City Friday afternoon just in time to be faced by a battery of cameras while I had my last fittings for three new dresses. Then Mrs. George Backer and Mr. John Rothschild, of the "Open Road," came to see me.
Mrs. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., came in from the country so we could go together to "Flight To The West," by Elmer Rice. The casting and acting of the play are really remarkable. You feel as though you had been on the Clipper yourself and met and talked with the group of people who took the flight.
As a play, it lacks something which keeps it from being really great, but as a group of characterizations, it is extremely interesting and I think that anyone will feel that he has spent an evening which is well worthwhile. The successful oil man from Texas would be rather amusing if he were not rather terrifying. I wonder how many people really think it is smart to do business with a man who stands for everything that is opposed to the original American conception of democracy and freedom.
It seems to me a little like the doctrine: "The Devil, himself is an amazing fellow so long as I can get the best of him." Since, in business, some of us think we are abler than the rest of the world, we think it is safe to traffic even with those who represent all we hate and fear.
I read Mr. Archibald MacLeish's article yesterday in the Survey Graphic, and I grow to believe every day with greater conviction the truth he sets forth. America is not a pile of goods, more luxury, more comforts, a better telephone system, a greater number of cars. America is a dream of greater justice and opportunity for the average man and, if we can not obtain it, all our other achievements amount to nothing.
Even to dream, one must have a basis of economic security, and the dream is worth little if it can not provide that. Devotion to democracy, devotion to liberty, what we call patriotism, depends upon the realization of such conditions in our country as really give us the opportunity and hope for future dreams.
I drove up to Hyde Park yesterday morning and the drive along the Parkway was like a fairyland. Once out of the city, the fields and trees were covered with snow. When I reached my own cottage, the countryside was really beautiful. I had only a few hours, but two friends were spending the weekend there, so we walked up to the top of the hill after an early lunch and came back to chat in the living room, which made me almost forget that I had to make a train. Providence was kind and I looked at the clock, just in time to get to the station with five minutes to spare.
The weather had cleared and the moon shone, so I knew that I could make the 10:30 plane back to Washington. I spent the evening with a friend in New York City, and had the joy of listening to some inspiring and beautiful song records. The "Ballad For Americans," which belongs so typically to our own country, I think should become familiar to every schoolchild.