AUGUST 11, 1950
HYDE PARK, Thursday—Australia's decision to send men to stand side by side with the men of the United States in Korea is very good news. Their air force, I believe, already has units cooperating with ours in that area. But up to now the fighting in the field has been done by soldiers of the United States and so it has seemed to many that this was a United States war and not a United Nations war. This war is the concern of every free nation in the world that wishes to build a United Nations strong enough to put down aggression anywhere.
Life here seems to go along on a fairly active basis most of the time. Yesterday Mr. Steve Filipkowski, a young candidate for Congress in Erie, Pa., and some friends of his, Mrs. Theodore Meyer and her son, Louis, came to lunch with me to talk over some of the issues in Mr. Filipkowski's campaign.
I like to see younger people becoming active in politics, particularly people who have a real stake in the communities in which they live.
Naturally at the present time, world affairs, and the war in Korea in particular, overshadow domestic issues. But in the long run one of the vitally important things is that we should all be concerned about the government of our own community. It is only as we improve our own small areas that we can hope to improve the democracy of our nation and thus strengthen our nation as a whole.
I was interested to find these young people deeply concerned over the fact that so many women neglect to register and vote. I turned to my niece, who is staying with me, to ask her if it is hard to get women out to register and vote in Michigan, where she lives. She was emphatic in saying that it is. Generally it does not take too much urging to get the men to go and register, but on the whole, the women will stay away and feel no responsibility about voting. Typical of that is one woman's reaction, who said, "I am not going to register. I haven't voted in 16 years. If my husband wants to register that's all right, but I am not going to be bothered."
These young people also pointed out that often registering is made extremely difficult. Registration bureaus often are difficult to reach and during designated periods crowds make waiting in lines an inconvenience. This really does not help in the participation in government which in a democracy is essential. In the Soviet Union only one ticket is offered to the people and the government insists everyone must go out and vote. Here, where we have free elections, we do not provide penalties for those among our citizens who do not assume any responsibility for their citizenship.
But since registration and voting are the two most elemental responsibilities in a democracy we should at least give publicity to those who do not take the trouble to register and vote. Perhaps the local papers the following day could carry a list of the delinquents. We might thus develop a greater sense of how valuable is this right of ours to the franchise in the interests of the preservation of democracy.