DECEMBER 30, 1947
HYDE PARK, Monday—A letter has come to me from a man who calls himself "An Average Citizen" and who voices his sense of frustration.
He finds his Republican friends believing that only businessmen should get consideration and that all our efforts today should be centered on improving the profits of business, on the old theory that when the profits are large at the top, they will seep down to the man at the bottom—to the worker who really achieves the production and without whom there would be no profits.
My correspondent goes on to say that his Democratic friends seem to differ very little from the Republicans, in that none of them seems to worry about the United Nations or another war or the atom bomb, or about the well-being of little people all over the world, or even about the short-comings of our own brand of democracy. As a matter of fact, probably every one of us today should be worrying more than we ever worried before about improving and perfecting our democracy.
For instance, we should not be content with the appointment of a committee to consider our achievements and shortcomings where civil rights are concerned. The committee did a remarkable piece of work, but if its report remains just another document and if the recommendations are not carried out, we shall continue to be open to criticism because we speak high-sounding words in our Declaration of Independence and in our Constitution but we stop there. Many men down through the years of our history have reminded us that the words were not enough in themselves, that they had to be translated into practice. And that is what the President's Committee on Civil Liberties has said once again.
If we are to serve as a convincing model of democracy and if we are to lead the rest of the world in the economic as well as in the spiritual field, then we must act and act rather quickly, both at home and abroad.
* * *
After hearing over the radio about all the trials and tribulations of the big city of New York as a result of the heavy snow, I began to feel that we up here were rather well off. We finally reached the farm in a sleigh and we had milk, butter and eggs. Some of the pipes at the farm had frozen, but that is just one of the ways in which you learn what to do to prevent their freezing again. And the snow-plow finally made its way from the house through the woods to the main road by a circuitous route.
Hence, I was able to get to the broadcasting station in Poughkeepsie yesterday in ample time for my broadcast on the late Fiorello La Guardia's hour. It was a curious feeling to use the time which would have been his. And I could not help wishing that "all good men and valiant" could be with us still in these days when such important decisions need to be made which require good judgement and courage and unselfishness.