JANUARY 25, 1943
WASHINGTON, Sunday—Friday afternoon, I spoke for the infantile paralysis campaign over the radio, and I have just received a letter telling me of one of the things that infantile paralysis victims can do to earn a living, which I think will interest my readers.
Nearly everyone these days is a radio fan, but not everyone sits and listens hour after hour because there is nothing else he can do. People who have had infantile paralysis must sit still, and many of them must also earn a living. It is interesting to find that a radio checking service of St. Louis employs shut-ins. Some are infantile paralysis victims, some suffer from arthritis, some are victims of spinal ailments; or bad fractures, or people who have lost hands or feet, or who are blind.
All of them can check radio programs and they do an accurate and thorough job. Their service reports are exceptional and cost a very small sum from the commercial standpoint. The ages of those employed run from sixteen to sixty. Two hundred infantile paralysis cases are already doing this work, and some of them are patients at Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. Many more, of course, are waiting for employment, but it is certainly interesting to come upon a new thing which handicapped people can do, and one cannot help feeling happy for them whenever they feel of use.
I wonder how many people have really thought seriously about the suggestion which Senator Bankhead made in the Senate the other day, which was promptly supported by Senator Wheeler. At first blush it looked like an attractive suggestion. None of us like to have our boys endanger their lives for us. It is not until you begin to think about the future implications that you realize the full import.
Other men can fight, but ours can produce in factories and fields and their families can live comfortably while they do so. Somehow, I think anyone making this suggestion forgets that young people have a right to live their own lives, and I hardly think there are many young men in this country who want to have someone else do their fighting for them.
No, even if it means dying, I think they would not accept the proposition. Should they accept, I wonder how long it would be before those who had fought in our places would decide that a nation so well developed in industry and so undeveloped in military achievement is more useful enslaved than free.
On the whole, I think I would rather accept the Army's estimates and have more soldiers than we need, even if we go short on food, we won't starve. If we women have to work, well, some of us thrive on pretty long hours. I think I'll feel safer and prouder in my country, if we all carry our full share of the burdens of the present years in every field of endeavor on every front.