If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

December 1942


I have heard that you are one of the advisory editors of a comic magazine. Do you think comic books suitable reading for children?

I think some comic books are suitable reading for children. They should, however, be carefully chosen. I wrote in my column on April 25, 1941, about True Comics, edited by David Marke, published by Parents Institute. I later refused to be chairman or honorary chairman for another publisher.


Since eighteen and nineteen year old boys are to be drafted, why shouldn't they be able to vote and run for office?

I see no reason why eighteen and nineteen year old boys should not be allowed to vote if they can qualify as voters. I would question whether running for office would be particularly advisable, because they could not have had sufficient experience to qualify them for many Government positions, though filling certain small, local positions might be educational.

Many boys of this age have enlisted. When they are drafted, I hope that they will be given far more careful physical and psychiatric examinations than are given to older draftees.


Does anyone know whether married men with children will be drafted? If so, how soon?

I haven't heard that the authorities have made any statement on this question. I imagine they will be governed entirely by the country's need and that they will send to local draft boards certain directions when the need arises.

There is, of course, one difficulty in the present method of drafting men: namely, that in certain localities the quotas have been filled for single men, and to fill further requests they may have had to take married men. There is under discussion some revisions which will allow quotas to be filled from wider areas.


What is the best way to help a young girl suddenly grown tall to overcome her feeling of awkwardness?

To talk about it very little; to watch her health so that she has good posture and does not suffer from weakness because of her sudden growth; to have her taught to dance well; and to see that she gets an opportunity to take part in athletics and to meet with young people freely.


Is the wife of a serviceman barred from working for a weekly wage if she receives a Government allotment as a dependent wife?

She is not barred, and Public Law 625 defines a wife as a dependent just because she is a wife and regardless of what she may be doing.


Who do you think are the three greatest men of all time?

Christ. Aside from Him, it would be hard to name any others, because for different reasons men have been outstanding and valuable at different times; but I think it is almost impossible to pick out, in the history of the world we know, three men who have served the world above all others.


I have always been of the opinion that parents and grandparents show favoritism. Do you find it so?

No. I think most parents and grandparents may love children for different qualities, but not have favorites.


Why are aliens who enjoy the privileges of this country not required to defend it?

The Selective Service Law is applicable to non-citizens and to anyone as long as they are residents in this country. Anyone can be drafted. Enemy aliens are, of course, considered in a different category and some exceptions may be made in their case.


Why is it that Jewish boys are not in the Army?

You can have seen very few Army contingents. I have visited a great many, and I have yet to see any group which hasn't some Jewish boys—and in many cases, a great many.


How will our armed forces act toward enemy civilians—like Christians, or like the Germans and the Japs?

I hope that our men will always act as Christians; but war is a grim business, and when it is a question of killing or being killed, instinct seems to make us prefer to remain alive when we can.


After we have won the war, what should be done with Adolf Hitler?

I am afraid that this is a decision which we will have to leave to the peace conference.


What are the first two things you would ask for if you were making a personal Christmas list?

Peace, and a realization on the part of the people of the world that we have to work together to keep the world at peace in the future.


Why do they send green boys to the front lines while trained boys are held back?

If you have been told anything like this, you are entirely misinformed. None of our boys are going to the front lines untrained.


What is your favorite painting?

I have no particular favorites. I like a great many painters; some of the old Dutch and Spanish masters have always been great favorites of mine, and among the more modern ones Van Gogh stands out. There are a good many very modern painters whom I like also.


Have your grandchildren been taught to believe in Santa Claus?

Yes, I think they have.

< Previous Column 1942 Next Column >

About this document

If You Ask Me, December 1942

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
[ ERPP bio | VIAF | WorldCat | DPLA | SNAC ]

Ladies' Home Journal, volume 59, December 1942

Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Digital edition published 2014, 2016 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project
The George Washington University
Old Main Building, Suite 406
1951 F Street, NW
Washington, DC