My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Monday—I plan to go back tonight to Washington, but in the meantime I am doing as many things as possible during this day. My morning is filled with appointments of various kinds, and at 2 o'clock I am to speak to a group at Brooklyn College under the auspices of the United States Student Assembly.

In the evening I go to a meeting at Cooper Union under the auspices of the Committee for Refugee Education, Inc. These refugees, who came here as strangers in our midst, set themselves to learn the language of the country which has given them shelter. Many of them have also wanted to learn more about our people and about the processes of democracy. Ordinarily they meet in small neighborhood groups, but for this occasion they are all coming together in one large gathering, and I am looking forward very much to this opportunity of meeting with them.

This is a bewildering country to those who come from far away, and the processes of democracy, which seem to us simple and easy to understand, must seem very chaotic to strangers. An election such as we have just been through, for instance, proves to us our freedom; but to them it probably spells misunderstanding, disunity and bitter hatred!

Take, for example, the oft-repeated statement, made in the hope of befuddling American mothers, that the President had "broken his promise to them that their boys would not be sent to fight outside of the continental United States." The end of the sentence, which said: "Unless we are attacked," was rarely quoted; and never was it explained to the mothers that the fight would be harder for their boys if they waited until the attack was on our own soil. It would be a much harder fight for them because it would mean that the other nations fighting against the common enemy had already gone under, and we were fighting alone in the world. The fact was also carefully ignored that if the fighting were done on our own soil, the suffering would be borne by the whole population and the years of recovery would be long, hard years.

None of this, however, was ever mentioned, and I sometimes wonder whether the writers and speakers who try to befuddle other people are really befuddled themselves! If not, then they deliberately go about assuming that people in this country are so stupid they will neither know the truth at the time, nor realize later the type of effort that was made to control their thinking. I doubt if people as a whole, in this country, like such an assumption.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL