JULY 14, 1948
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—Last night we listened to Senator Alben Barkley's speech at the Democratic National Convention. It must have been a trying occasion, for the heat in that Convention Hall, packed with people, must have reminded many of the heat in Chicago in 1932.
As a keynote speech, it was a masterpiece, I thought, reminding the people of the country of many things that the Republican party would like to have them forget. I was told the other day that one Republican gentleman remarked that "Roosevelt led us into the depression." I think there are few people in this country who have forgotten the depth of fear and despair that the nation touched not only during the campaign of 1932 but at the inauguration of 1933.
Senator Barkley did well to remind our people of the measures that had been passed under Democratic Administrations. If we believe in the two-party system, there is a reason for staying loyal to one or the other party and that is that, by and large, we consider the record of the party of our choice better than that of the opposing party.
Senator Barkley showed us that those of us who approve of the record made by the Democratic party, under both Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, must add up that record and weigh it against the record made under the Republican Administrations. Then we must decide which party we now wish to support. It seems to me that nearly all the really progressive legislation, which has had the interests of the whole people at heart, has been passed when the Democratic party was in power.
I am not blind to the fact that there are different factions in the Democratic party, nor that the Democratic party has made mistakes. Leaders of all parties are human beings and so are the people who make up their followings, and no human being is perfect. Both of our major political parties are divided into factions—some reactionary, some more or less liberal. By and large, however, even the liberal positions taken by the Republican party are positions that have been established by the Democratic party.
For this reason, I am a Democrat. I do not agree with the reactionaries in my party, but I nevertheless think that in the main the Democratic party's record is more liberal and the people have gained more from the policies of the Democratic party than from the policies and administration of the Republican party.
A news service representative telephoned me last evening to ask if I had been in Philadelphia or was on my way. It really isn't necessary for me to go to the convention. I can picture it in my mind's eye. Those who should be there are the younger people, for they have to live with the policies that become realities through the actions of our political parties.