DECEMBER 31, 1941
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—On Sunday evening I left New York City for Minneapolis, Minn., for I had promised some time ago to spend a little while at the convention held there by the National Student Federation. This organization is composed of the elected heads of student government bodies and can be of great value in directing the thought and activities of these young college people, many of whom are going to be leaders of their generation.
I read an editorial written by Dr. Alvin Johnson, the Director of the New School for Social Research, in New York City, in their bi-weekly bulletin, and I could not help thinking how valuable a stimulus to young people this type of short article might be. I hope that many of the publications reaching them will reprint this editorial.
The outstanding thought in it is, that in the past, at the end of periods of great crisis, we have tried to reconstitute the past and we have never been successful. Two short sentences point the way to the future:
"The physicists have discovered the possibility of penetrating the black fog of London with infra-red rays. Reason is, after all, a kind of infra-red ray."
We should use our reason to understand the meaning of the past and to shape our action in the future. We have learned what not to do. Have we the courage and foresight to begin to build a new order when this crisis is over?
Since mentioning Mr. Louis Adamic's "Two-Way Passage" I have finished the book. I thought it showed keen insight into the various strains which make up the United States. Whether his plan for a two-way passage is possible, just as he describes it, or not, only time will show. One thing is sure, this two-way passage must serve to interpret what we have accomplished in this nation by way of goodwill and better understanding.
This puts upon us in this country, a tremendous responsibility to live up to our theories of democracy and make them a reality in every part of our own country. We must live down our prejudices whatever they may be, and be sure that we make every act of ours conform to our Bill of Rights, and to the highest ideals of a democratic nation.