My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

HYDE PARK, Monday—There was an article in the magazine section of one of the metropolitan newspapers yesterday, showing how the Communists use every possible facet of propaganda to show the positive advantages of their doctrines. They popularize the men they wish the people to admire and finally they show the disadvantages of life where another pattern of government is carried on.

The two pictures that struck me as most effective were the ones showing hooded Klansmen of the United States parading and a small boy examining a bulletin board, set up beside the road, covered with pictures telling of the virtues of life under Soviet rule.

The Russian propaganda against the capitalist system is very effective because the worst situations in the capitalist countries are picked out and pictured as the normal occurrences. Therefore, no matter how hard things may seem within the Soviet Union, the conditions they paint of the outside are so much worse.

Unemployment and strikes, for instance, are the order of the day everywhere. The Russians do not seem to have learned the simple lesson that those two things rarely go together. If there is such unemployment, strikes are almost unknown. Strikes are usually much easier to pull off if it is not difficult to get a job outside of the field in which you ordinarily work.

There is never any mention made in Soviet propaganda that in our South, where the Klan is strong, there is also strong opposition to it. The Russians, themselves, never acknowledge that anything needs to be changed within the Soviet Union, so they cannot understand how it is possible for us in the democracies to fight against certain conditions here. With them, the people would not be free to speak against a local, state or national government.

I have never been able to understand how one could expect anything, however, to be so perfect as things are supposed to be in the USSR. I am glad, therefore, that in our own country we find people willing to be critical, and a government willing to accept criticism. The only thing I sometimes regret here is that we are more ready with our criticism than with our praise. We do not always remember to tell the people who carry the burden of our government when we think they have done a good job. It is almost as important for citizens to remember that their public servants need praise. And those who find fault and criticize should not only pick out mistakes, but should suggest remedies as well.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL