JANUARY 20, 1939
WASHINGTON, Thursday—Our son, Elliott, finally was able to depart last night. The last snowstorms have been a little disturbing to anyone who wished to travel anywhere by air and he was obliged to change his plans several times. However, even leaving later than he intended, he will be in Fort Worth, Texas, sooner than would have been possible before airplanes were an accepted mode of travel.
It is interesting to talk to any young man today who is very keen about his work, because he is able to tell you of a number of things which seem to be successful even in these troublous times. The successful things usually show that it takes imagination and initiative today to do something which really goes over. If you have both, you seem to succeed.
The State of Washington provides me with an interesting letter and a newspaper clipping this morning. My correspondent asks that I answer her question in my column. This is the question: "I am enclosing a clipping. Is this called free speech?" The clipping is from a paper called "The Statesmen Index", of December 30th, and is headed: "The Poet's Corner." The name of the poem is "Rejected." The gist of it is that the present President of the United States "came to the gates of Hell and the Devil answered the bell." All the faults of the Administration come in for a rhymne, including personal things such as his wife, and finally he is rejected, and these are the closing lines:
At last he said: "Let's make it clear,
You'll have to move, you can't stay here,
For once you linger with the mob
I'll have to hunt myself a job."
Strange to say the author is, "Unknown."
Certainly, Madame Correspondent, this is freedom of speech. Anyone in this country has a right to state his or her opinion about anyone else. Even if you disagree with the opinion you must uphold this right, because that same right allows you to express your opinion freely as well. You are worried because you were taught to respect the office of the President of the United States regardless of politics, but this is not an attack on the office or even on the Presidency. It is an attack on the man and perhaps it is better to have more freedom and less enforced respect.
Last night I had the pleasure of speaking to the Executive Board of the National Federation of Women's Clubs and listening to a speech by a young Chilian woman doctor who holds one of their scholarships. This young woman is one of the leaders among women in Chile and it was interesting to see her interest in democracy.