FEBRUARY 23, 1946
NEW YORK, Friday—I waited until I came home to say something which has been on my mind for a long time. When you are on the continent of Europe, facing the needs of human beings, the dispute over rights and wrongs between American management and labor suddenly falls into perspective. You know just one thing—that, between them, they are adding to the sum total of the greatest misery the world has ever seen, for the world sorely needs the products which only we today are able to make.
I believe the Lord spared this country so that we might give spiritual, moral and physical leadership to the world, and I cannot help feeling that failing to give leadership when it is so badly needed will boomerang on our own heads. This is no time for men and women of narrow vision. This is a time when I believe the Lord meant our whole nation to be great and, in its greatness, to give the world hope for the future.
Our industrialists have shown that they are capable of great vision. As a people we have a genius for management and the know-how in mechanical and engineering processes. That is what has made us such a great industrial nation.
We must not forget, however, that our population is made up of people from every country in the world. Their hearts reach back, by a thousand memories and the ties of love, to the countries of their origin and to the people who today are suffering in ways that we scarcely understand. Someday, unless we act wisely, they are going to say to their leaders: "How did it happen that you didn't tell us what our actions here meant to the people throughout the world with whom we still have a deep concern?"
In addition, we must remember that other nations are watching us today, because the trend in the world is towards socialism and we are the greatest democratic capitalist nation. If we show lack of unity and allow our differences to grow to such magnitude that we are unable to work together to meet the increasing needs, not only of our own people but of the world, what is their verdict going to be? How can we maintain that ours is the system which most nearly meets the wishes of our people if we haven't what we want ourselves and can't help those in the rest of the world?
It is not so much our government which has failed to understand our world situation, it is our industrialists who have failed to give leadership in the economic field. Labor, too, should have had the world point of view. But both have served what they imagined were their immediate profits rather than the greater profit of learning to work cooperatively and giving leadership in a broad point of view to our whole citizenry. In the long run, the world point of view is the only one which will benefit the United States of America as a whole.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1946, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.; REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR PART PROHIBITED.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 23, 1946
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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