The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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SEATTLE, Sunday—Nothing could be happier than the progress of family affairs in Seattle. The older children have begun their Easter holiday and would like to spend every minute of it at the hospital. It seems difficult to explain that even though "Mummy" may be in bed with no apparent business to attend to, it really would not be well for her to spend all of her days playing checkers or some other game with her children.

After much persuasion they were induced to follow their usual Saturday and Sunday activities, with a promise that "Mummy" and the baby would be seen in the late afternoon. Friday evening I offered to read aloud to Buzz until bedtime, but there is a program on the air called "The Lone Ranger," which seems to be entirely satisfactory to the young. Seeing how eagerly these children listened to the radio, I wondered if something more constructive could not be be done during the early evening programs for all ages of young people. What is on the air is sometimes helpful. It is rarely harmful, but it seems to me that there is an opportunity here for an amount of really constructive pleasure and profit which has not yet been fully grasped.

I am reading an enchanting book by Rachel Field called "All This, And Heaven, Too." In it, the description of the way "Mademoiselle" handled the children gives one so many imaginative leads that one feels one could go on endlessly devising radio games and programs which would be more fascinating to the youngsters than much that I hear at present.

The papers yesterday carried one item of news which to me was very important. It was, of course, in the realm of foreign affairs. Our State Department has recognized the new government in Spain, and officially stated that the civil war is over. To all of us there must come a great sense of relief, not just because armies have ceased to fight each other, but that men, women and children throughout Spain are at last free from the dread of attack by air, of bombs falling in their cities. Sometimes, even in the quiet countryside, they have suffered starvation, due not only to the impossibility of normal trade, but also to the interruption of normal life in Spain, which would produce food for the people, and the wherewithal to obtain other necessities through trade

Though help will be needed for a year or more at least, those of us who have an interest in watching the real development of civilization are hoping to see this new government prove that it really believes what it has stated, namely, that it actually represent the desires of the people of Spain. If that is so, there would be no need for cruelty or oppression. Even the leaders of the opposition are no menace to a government when the people are loyal, and clemency will heal the rifts of war more quickly than cruelty.

In a message I read not long ago, it was stated that all but criminals would be safe under the new government. The question, of course, is who will be considered criminals. Too many dictatorships have proved to us that when one man or a small group of men decide on this particular point, a criminal is often a man who happens to think differently from the leader in power. Proof to the world that a government is stable and strong lies in the ability of its leaders to show their lack of fear by their generosity to the opposition. Too many people today seem to think that strength lies only in cruelty and force. Temporarily this may be true, but it can never win out in the end.


(Copyright, 1939, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Seattle (Wash., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 3, 1939

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.