My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Tuesday—I was talking last night to a man of some experience in the business world, a man whose opinions I greatly respect. Much to my pleasure, he said that he felt there was not only going to be work for everybody at the end of the war, but plenty of work. What he meant was, I think, that the future really depends on our ability to imagine possibilities and then to set to work to use our minds and ingenuity in working out our dreams so that they become practical realities.

Congress is now at home, and we, the people, have a chance to talk to our Congress. Why not ask them to come to meetings and put a few questions to them so that we shall know what they are going to work for when they meet again? The fall of Mussolini has brought peace within the realms of possibility. Many people, who before would not discuss postwar activities because, first of all, the war must be won, now realize that the time has come to plan for peace.

In view of this, here are the questions I should like to ask my Congressman:

In our district, what plans are now being made for future employment of all the available labor now at work, plus the returning number of soldiers?

What plans in my district have been made for the re-education of both workers and soldiers, those who need vocational training and those who wish to proceed with any type of academic or professional training?

How do the plans of our district work in with the plans of other districts in the United States?

How do you plan to insure peace in the world in the future?

Have any plans been formulated in Congress, either privately or publicly, that you feel are satisfactory and for which you intend to work?

We, the lay people, who get up in the morning and eat our breakfasts and go about our business, are much the same all over the world, We feel we have little opportunity to make the decisions which affect our lives and the lives of the people in general who make up the mass population of the world. These decisions lie in the hands of statesmen, government representatives, scientists, educators, influential people in business and in the professions.

We are the cogs, but we are the people for whom the others function. Without us they would have no reason for existence, and so we have a right to ask questions and to insist on answers, to give or to withhold our support of the men in important positions, on the ground that their answers do, or do not satisfy us. We, the American people, have long training in the art of self-government. We can think, but sometimes we are apathetic and refuse to take the trouble. This is a moment in history when such negligence cannot be tolerated.

PNews, ZS, 29 July 1943