My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Sunday—For our future security, perhaps the first and most important thing we should think of is our obligation to see that every man able to work has a job, that every American family has a decent level of subsistence, and that every child has a chance to grow up without the physical and mental handicaps which arise out of bad housing, bad health and poor education and recreational conditions.

Our men have found, while fighting the war, that this country is the best country in the world in which to live. Yet during the depression years there were many people, even youngsters, to whom that would have seemed an impossible statement. We know that the things we want can only be secured if the other nations of the world have a rising standard of living and continuous desires which make the flow of trade more or less equal throughout the world.

* * *

A nation with a high standard of living is a nation with a high national income. This will enable us to spend all we need on our defense without hardship to our people. It will enable us to provide a navy which our experts will consider adequate for protection and which shall only be reduced as armaments throughout the world are reduced; an air force which shall also meet the requirements of our experts and which shall be reduced only as the rest of the world reduces its military equipment proportionately; and a research group that will at all times be abreast of every modern invention, so that no nation in the world shall be ahead of us in the knowledge essential to the winning or to the prevention of future wars.

If we do decide that compulsory military training is essential until our peace organization is functioning and until the various parts of the world which have been unsettled for years past are on a more satisfactory economic and political basis, then we must be very careful how we choose and allocate our young people to their various tasks. In addition, we must repay them—on their release from military service—by giving them training in their chosen fields which will make it possible to accelerate their entrance into productive life as civilians.

* * *

I would not be averse to seeing each and every citizen required to do something every year for his state and nation besides the mere act of employing his franchise. In every part of a great nation, some emergencies always arise in which trained people, young or old, are more useful than untrained ones.

We want to feel secure in a world where as yet force is the major weapon, but we also want to feel secure in a world where perhaps mental and spiritual force may grow to be the greatest force. We must not fall short in preparing our people to wield both kinds of strength.

E. R.

TMs, AERP, FDRL