SEPTEMBER 30, 1941
WASHINGTON, Monday—We drove down to New York City after lunch yesterday and I had a visit from Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr and Dr. James Loeb Jr., who came to ask me to speak at a meeting. They allowed me a choice of dates in October or early December. October is already so filled with obligations and December is filling up so rapidly, that I had a very hard time deciding. I finally agreed that I would try to go, if certain conditions can be met, and if no one can be found who will do a better job than I.
Then I went over to the broadcasting station and went through the usual preliminaries of photographs and rehearsals. I wish my reading time would be the same at least twice, it would save the poor people who run these programs a great deal of trouble. As a result of the broadcast, I had a most entertaining telegram today, which reads: "Face the fact that Communism and Democracy are not the same and see where that leaves you." It is signed: "An Isolationist."
I must be very dull, because I thought I had made crystal clear that Communism and Democracy are not the same. I thought that I had given a fair definition of what Democracy really is! However, I am delighted to have an opportunity to say here that it seems to me that Democracy has one great advantage over Communism—it really requires the participation of every citizen in the choice of the people to fill government office.
Of course, it would be impossible to have a real democracy in a country which has not so far had, for at least two generations, free public school education and laws which protected people in their right to exercise fundamental freedoms of thought, of speech and of assembly
Mr. and Mrs. "Isolationist," whoever you may be, facing the fact of this difference between Communism and Democracy, leaves me in just the position I was in when I made my radio speech last night.
I started in to work this morning at the Office of Civilian Defense, and since it does not look as though I shall get any exercise in any other way, I determined to walk to and from work. This brought me only one experience. A young woman came up beside me and said: "You are Mrs. Roosevelt and I am from California and have always wanted to shake hands with you." This gave me a sense of satisfaction, so we shook hands and I felt that the young woman was really glad and, therefore, I was glad also.