My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK—I have received word that a campaign is under way cautioning people about their holiday driving. The campaign emphasizes that a total of 962 people lost their lives during the Christmas and New Year's holidays in 1952 and 849 died in the somewhat shorter holiday periods last year.

This terrible toll is largely due to people who had been making merry with the kind of drinking that makes it dangerous to drive a car. Last year, safety authorities recommended to liquor drinkers that instead of taking one last drink of liquor they should take a cup of black coffee. The authorities called it "one for the road" coffee. This year they have added the following admonitions:

(1) "If you attend Christmas or New Year's festivities in your own car and have partaken too freely of alcoholic beverages, let a non-tipsy friend drive you home." My only comment on that recommendation is that few people recognize the fact that they have had more than they should have to drink. (2) "If there is no safe and sober driver available, leave your car and go home by taxi or other public conveyance." My comment on this is that it is fine if the inebriated one is in or near a town or city, but had better stay the night if in the country. (3) "If you do feel up to driving yourself, go on the assumption that other drivers on the road may not be sober. That way you will probably drive more slowly, and will be apt to give other cars plenty of room."

Wherever they can be applied, these rules are excellent. There is one basic rule that I always have felt was a very wise one—drink more moderately. Moderation is a good rule of life in all one's activities. With its practice, we would all be safer and saner.

* * *

There has been considerable discussion over "the right to work" laws which 17 states have passed. Eleven of these states are in the South and the others are Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, Arizona, and North and South Dakota. There has been considerable activity among employers to get these laws passed.

When you talk about "the right to work" it has a good sound, but labor leaders claim that these laws are really aimed against the unions. No government should force its people to join a union, but where collective bargaining has been agreed upon between an employer and a union and one of the provisions is that after a 30-day trial period a man who holds a job must join a union, then it can be claimed that a majority of the workers felt that provision was a safeguard to their well-being. It is not the government but a majority of the employees under contract who have decided. Then, if a worker does not care to join his fellow workers in the union, he has the right to leave his job.

Anyone studying labor conditions over the past years will realize that it is the gains made by labor unions which have given better conditions to all workers everywhere. Therefore, to protect collective bargaining and the interests of the workers is, in my view, the right thing for government to do and when state laws oppose this, I think the state laws are wrong.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL