My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, New Brunswick, Wednesday—The news continues to be reassuring from Korea, but I wish it was equally reassuring on the home front, but we seem bent on fighting our partisan battles just as though we were on a desert island, and only those who understood our campaign antics could hear or be affected by what any of us say or do. Unfortunately, the rest of the world does not really understand that in campaign time in the United States it is considered quite legitimate to call an opponent a horse thief or something worse if you can escape a suit for libel, and everyone is a bit surprised if the accused even shows resentment, for one is expected to make allowances for campaign oratory.

I fear very much that the stupid attacks on our Secretary of State will make his difficult tasks abroad ever more difficult. The Republicans should not ignore their responsibility to keep our prestige high in the eyes of the world. They are Americans even before they are Republicans, though some of their representatives might lead us to believe at times that they are only Republicans.

The other day I noticed with pleasure that Mr. Sanford Bates had been decorated by the Queen of Holland, for his services in the field of penology. I have known Mr. Bates for many years and remember well when he first took Mrs. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., and myself to visit some prison camps he was establishing on a more or less experimental basis. His plan was to ease the congestion in our Federal prisons, and make the transition from the prison to the outside world easier for the prisoner. He has never ceased in his efforts to help erring human beings and is doing fine work today in New Jersey, so I rejoice at his recognition internationally, and hope that it will bring him greater opportunities for service.

In one of our Sunday newspaper magazines I read a story that should not have to be written. During the last war, I remember being told by regular soldiers that they appreciated the changed attitude of the public toward them. It shocked me to learn that we had not always treated boys in uniform with respect and kindness. I thought, however, that we had learned our lesson so well that we would never forget it. So far not enough men are back in uniform to necessitate a call for the great organizations of last war. Nevertheless, all of us should be ready to help any boy in uniform who asks for information, and perhaps the time has come for a few groups to organize so that hospitality can safely be tendered to a stranger and accepted. This must be done by authorized groups for safety. In smaller places it might be undertaken by the church groups. In the larger cities some of the old civic organizations should be revived. The boys going out today may fight for the United Nations, but it is our safety and freedom which is at stake no less than it was when we fought against Hitler and totalitarianism under a slightly different guise.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL