JULY 30, 1946
EN ROUTE TO CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, Monday—Many years ago, I read a book by Pierrepont B. Noyes which sounded as fantastic in many ways as some of Jules Verne's books must have seemed before we had ever heard of a submarine. This particular book has just been reprinted under the title, "Gentlemen: You AreMad." It will be out the first week in August, and I think it is worth reading, thinking about and discussing, for it bears on the way we shall live and on our ability to preserve our civilization. Since some of us seem to think we are on the way to suicide for this period of civilization, the book is certainly worth our attention.
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I left Hyde Park yesterday morning to drive to Campobello Island. I chose a route which avoids Boston, but passed through a number of New England's manufacturing towns where one sees people of many different racial backgrounds.
Ours is a beautiful and varied country from the standpoint of scenery, but it is not just scenery that has attracted the people from so many foreign lands who have developed our country and made us a great nation. These people came because of the promise of freedom and justice which would give everyone of them a chance to express themselves politically and lead a freer, better life.
I could not help wondering how a politician would feel who prides himself on his background of pure Americanism and his Anglo-Saxon lineage, yet is willing to accept office in his State without having gained the majority vote. The election was legal and the same kind of thing can happen for other offices in our nation. It is, however, a situation which requires revision if we believe in majority rule and that the voice of the people must be heard. Driving through New England, as I looked at people whose parents had come to us to gain greater freedom of political expression, I thought it would make one uncomfortable to occupy an office which one knew one held because the method of vote-counting was devised to meet a Civil War situation or to keep a balance between city and country.
Those of us whose ancestors came here among the first settlers would seem to have a special responsibility to see to it that our democratic practices are really kept up to date. Our ancestors encouraged others to come and help us develop this country. They made promises and we have an obligation to see that those promises are kept to the best of our ability.
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I have not been in northern New England or in Maine for a long time. There is a settled feeling about these villages and these farms which is very satisfying. I love the climate and the mixture of seafaring and farming people. From the time I reached Route 1, I began to smell the sea and to rejoice that I would have some days on the island of Campobello.
Nobody ever has hay fever on Campobello Island. The sun is warm in the daytime, but you can sit by an open fire at night. Mosquitoes do not bother you.
You can cross the border into Canada, after visiting our customs officials, by simply driving your car down onto a beach, then onto a scow, and being chugged by a tiny motorboat across a narrow channel of very swiftly moving water. When you are in mid-channel, you pass into foreign waters, and when you land on the opposite beach, you are on Canadian soil.