OCTOBER 16, 1950
HYDE PARK, Sunday—A number of good people have written me scandalized letters since I wrote my semi-facetious column in which I remarked, in relation to the discovery of the graft existing in connection with gambling in New York City, that perhaps it might be less of a temptation to our law enforcement officers if gambling were legalized. They point out that Las Vegas and Reno have not profited from the fact that gambling is legal in those areas, and that it would be most harmful if a law legalizing a lottery in California were to pass.
I think I should say that I, myself, have never gambled beyond some rather minor bets. But I don't think this is particularly a virtue on my part, because I am a consistent loser and quite evidently, therefore, it is no temptation. Quite aside from that, however, I was brought up with the feeling that no household and no community in which gambling flourished to any extent could possibly have a really healthful atmosphere.
Gambling seems to be much the same as drinking, however. Laws don't seem to remedy it. We have to attack it from the point of view of individual conviction. It certainly goes against the grain with me to run lotteries for individual profit or for the state's profit. But we have to acknowledge that whether we approve of them or not, a great many people participate in lotteries, just as a great many people seem to drink whether we have a prohibition law or not. I imagine all we can do is just go along the best we can from day to day and hope that in the end human nature will improve and our temptations and weaknesses will grow less.
I came up to the country Friday night. On Saturday the second part of Committee Three came up for a picnic lunch before going over to the big house and library. Again it was a perfect day, and I think everyone enjoyed sitting in the sun for the picnic before leaving my cottage and going to the big house.
I led them through the woods, where the colors are still beautiful and a great many leaves are still on the trees. At 4:30 I went back again to meet the Foreign Minister of India, who came up to place a wreath on my husband's grave. He came back with me to my cottage for a cup of tea and then drove back to New York. I was only sorry that I had to hurry a little because I went in the evening to speak at Chatham, New York, for Mrs. Clare McNamee McMahon, who is running for the State Assembly.
I wish we could do as well as India in electing women to our legislatures and to our Congress. I find India's record makes us seem backward, for as a rule the opportunities given women here to make a run by either political party are not such as to make their winning very likely. One can only hope for the best, and I wish this particular Democratic woman candidate in Columbia County great good luck in this election.