AUGUST 19, 1942
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—Miss Mary Winslow, in the Office of the Coordinator of Inter American Affairs, came to see me in Washington the other day to tell me about her trip to Mexico, which she had undertaken at the invitation of a group of Mexican women's organizations. They called a mass meeting of women and Miss Winslow showed me some of the handbills used at it. They seemed striking in their make-up and extremely concise in the way in which they expressed the reasons for women to take an active part in the war situation.
The first handbill simply stated: "Your country calls you," and then listed creeds and political parties. However, it had underneath them the simple phrase: "If you are Mexicans, to defend the liberty which you have created, your country calls you." In this way was emphasized the unity of interest of all creeds and political parties. A second flier listed the various things Nazi-Fascism would wipe out, dramatizing thus in the simplest and most direct manner, not only unity, but the reasons why unity could and should exist.
Miss Thompson and I came up from New York City yesterday afternoon to Hyde Park and brought a little girl with us to add to our younger set group. The children were all at the pool when we arrived, so we put on our bathing suits and played some games and swam before we held a birthday celebration, which the children themselves had planned.
Today I have a letter from a woman, which tells me of a local political situation. In the primaries of her party, she quite evidently suspects one candidate of being pro-Nazi, and urges me to investigate the circumstances of her particular locality. I do not think it is possible for anyone, not even the leaders of a political organization, really to know in detail the exact situation in every locality. That is why we hold primaries, so that the people who live in the locality may have the opportunity to choose the best man as they see him and know him.
People who are detached from party organizations can study published principles and can stand for certain general ideas and actions within groups. But where the individual localities are concerned, it is the people who live in those localities who have to weigh the real virtues of their candidates. Sometimes neither candidate seems good enough, and they may even have to vote against their own party in the final election. The value of democracy lies in the fact that good or bad government has its roots in the localities where people know each other and where they account for their actions to their neighbors.