FEBRUARY 23, 1942
WASHINGTON, Sunday—Friday night, at our Office of Civilian Defense Party, I saw for the second time, the movie called: "Woman of The Year" in which Katharine Hepburn plays a most amusing and delightful role. Every girl who has tried to keep house without training, will have sympathy with her struggles in separating the eggs, and those horribly rising waffles!
We spent a few serious moments and listened to Mr. Alexander Dreier tell a little about his experiences in Berlin, Germany, for he came out of that country more recently than anyone else I have seen. I think what he had to say made a very vivid picture for his listeners.
I was interested yesterday to find that my resignation from the Office of Civilian Defense rated front page stories in the New York Herald-Tribune and the New York Times, and an editorial in both papers. I am beginning to feel puffed up with importance!
Strange to say, this is the first time, that I have seen what I know is a valid criticism, not of the Office of Civilian Defense, but of my taking part in the organization. They both point out that the wife of any President cannot be looked upon as an individual by other people in the Government. She must always carry the reflection of influence or power beyond that of the usual government public servant.
I hoped that this was not true, but I have found out that it was. Therein lies the one really valid criticism against the wife of a President taking an executive job in the Government, even when that position is unpaid.
People can gradually be brought to understand that an individual, even if she is a President's wife, may have independent views and must be allowed the expression of an opinion. But actual participation in the work of the Government, we are not yet able to accept.
The National Education Association has sent me a publication entitled "A War Policy For American Schools," in which they set forth the need for changing "the education as usual" policy, and adopting "educational priorities." Many of the things which they suggest are, of course, things which should be part of an educational program at all times.
I have a feeling that, perhaps, out of this crisis, we shall have a more intelligent approach, not only to education, but to many other phases of community life, particularly where health and recreation are concerned. If this is one of the benefits to youth brought about by a period of great stress, we may be thankful that something good comes out of so great an evil.