My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Monday—Yesterday afternoon I had a visit from a very wonderful and gallant friend of mine. She has been crippled with arthritis for some years, but like my husband, no physical disability has ever really daunted her. As the body grew less active, she has concentrated more and more on the activities of the mind.

Her visit to me was undertaken as a high adventure and she accomplished it with complete success, for strangely enough, courage in an individual always calls out the best in others. Everywhere along the line she commanded not only admiration and respect, but a real desire to be of help. I enjoyed her visit very much, and we discussed a subject which must be close to the heart and mind of every citizen today. Largely confined by the four walls of her home, she wondered how she could still give comfort and backing and tangible support to those who are doing the things for the world in which she believes. Isn't that the question each of us is asking today?

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I have been thinking a good deal about this lately, and I believe one thing to do is to fix our minds on what our ultimate objectives are. We should decide what are the main things which we want to see achieved, and then judge day-to-day happenings by whether that main trend is being adhered to. Even when the minor happenings seem to be set-backs, and in themselves are not quite the thing that, with our limited knowledge as citizens, we would want done, we must try to look at the whole picture.

For instance, I feel that out of the San Francisco conference we are going to get substantial agreement on some kind of machinery through which the nations of the world are going to function. I do not think that all of us will be satisfied with everything that is happening in San Francisco. But, as private citizens, I think we must remember that we cannot pass judgment until we know more about the reasons why our representatives have accepted certain things. As an individual, I am not convinced that the Argentine today is any different in its government from the Argentine of some months ago. I am completely mystified as to what Russia's reason may be in her Polish attitude; but I know that our delegates and those of other nations have had difficult problems to meet.

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Compromises are never satisfactory. They are always the half-way measures which really please no one. Nevertheless, if they must be made in order to establish the machinery through which we are going to build confidence in each other, then we must look upon them as steps to our ultimate objectives. Confidence will be built eventually by our adherence to our highest standards in dealing with others, and by our own refusal to accept from others any lower standards.

We will have to wait for the final reports and clarification on what our representatives have accomplished to understand the whole picture. I think we are moving forward, and, as private citizens, we owe our chosen delegates the confidence and backing that we can only give by believing that they never lose sight of the ultimate objectives.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL