My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Monday—The more I observe human nature, the more I feel we are all of us perverse! When it does not rain, we want it to rain. When it is cool, we wish it were warm, and when it is warm, we wish it were cooler! When we are the center of observation, we wish we could divert attention from ourselves to something else, and when we are completely overlooked, we feel rather deflated. This is observable at our earliest age.

At the moment, we have a two-month-old baby staying with us in the White House—my niece, Mrs. Edward Elliott's little boy. He is a very good baby and wonderfully trained to eat and sleep, and to cry a little. He already shows signs of the strength which someday will be his.

My daughter took her five-year-old son in to look at the youthful addition to the household, and she warned him to be very quiet and not to disturb the baby. He heeded her warning until he was about to leave the room, and then he gave a good hard stamp to see what this minute object would do. He was much disappointed when the baby continued to sleep peacefully. Perverse at five!

I am much interested in Mr. Willkie's series of articles. The first one which I read this morning, seems to prove that the objectives of the present Administration should be the objectives of the Republican Party , but that administratively, they should be carried out with greater efficiency and that the Republican Party , if led by the proper people who believe in the same objectives, would undoubtedly prove more efficient in administration.

This is a question which we will have to study historically. In the past, the Republicans have been in control for more years than have the Democrats. The last period of control led us from the end of World War I to 1932. By that time, the pattern of World War II was already laid.

Any group would profit by the study of history and would learn what brings about poor administration—the hates and jealousies among people who should be interested primarily in the achievement of certain results, but who rarely can separate their objectives from their own personal ambitions. This is not peculiar to any party but seems to be an attribute of human nature. Someday we may be able to wipe it out and make all administration more efficient. The influence of personal ambition creates differences and jealousies. It prevents people from giving the best they can to any program, and, in the end, it defeats their own ambition.



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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 13, 1944

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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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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.