JANUARY 24, 1957
SPOKANE, Wash.—In a newspaper here today, there were three photographs, two of men and one of a woman. These three persons had been asked, "Do you think retiring at 60 or any age should be mandatory?"
The two men looked like pleasant, happy-go-lucky people, not too fond of work, but having got along fairly comfortably through life. They both responded that they felt there should be a mandatory retirement age, that by 65 people had worked enough.
The woman, who looked somewhat younger and very bright and alert, responded that from her point of view each person should be judged according to his own abilities and nobody should be forced to retire at any given age.
Thus is a question which has come up for discussion in many parts of this country. I agree with the lady in this case, because I see a great many people under compulsory retirement suddenly grow old. When you give up your work, a certain amount of interest goes out of your life. You lose the feeling that you are participating actively in the work of the world.
The papers out here, as everywhere else, had many pictures of the inauguration, the parade, and the President taking his oath of office. An editorial praised the theme of his inaugural address in which he appealed to Americans to meet their obligation "to build peace with justice where moral law prevails."
I hope that his appeal will be accepted by all the people of the country. But we can hardly build this peace without having very definite policies. Unless we are clear in our own minds as to how we think peace can be built and what we consider justice to be, we will find it difficult to get across our ideas, even to the nations who are prepared to follow us.
Communism has undoubtedly weakened itself in the last few months. Its attitude toward freedom in Poland and in Hungary has shaken some of the strongest Communists. And this may be a very good time for us to try to show how a constructive program could build peace with justice.
The political situation in the State of Washington is amusing. We are told that the City of Spokane has been very conservative Republican but is gradually swinging into the Democratic column. In the state, a Congressman-at-large and two Senators, all Democrats, were reelected, but the other Congressmen elected were all Republicans. In the state offices, they are becoming predominantly Democratic.
There seems to be a general feeling that young people, however, are more conservative than they used to be. The old idea that it is the young who are the liberals and the older people who are the conservatives seems to be somewhat modified. And in this area it is felt that a good many young people are starting out in life as conservatives.
Whether this will mean that they will become more liberal as time goes on or not, I suppose is impossible to tell. But the reason given me for this change is the fact that young people have felt the uncertainties of the draft and want as soon as possible to have a feeling of security and to protect their own interests. So adventures into liberal causes do not have as much appeal as they once had.