My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

HYDE PARK, Monday—It is rather horrible to think that a Senator of the United States could have an enemy who reached a point where he actually tried to shoot the senator—as happened the other day when an assailant shot at Sen. John W. Bricker of Ohio.

This is all part and parcel of the way human beings feel about the use of force. They turn to force naturally.

Especially after a war, people seem to be conditioned to the use of force, and it takes a long while to get back to normal. If that is so for individuals, we need not be surprised that it should be so for nations.

I am very glad, therefore, that the sixteen nations now meeting in Paris, to survey the European economic situation and to decide what shall be done, have not closed the door definitely on Russia. Her bid to Czechoslovakia through a trade pact is, of course, perfectly reasonable and one that Czechoslovakia could hardly refuse. But if the USSR stays out of the general program planned in Paris and does not work for the economic recovery of the whole of Europe, then she has indeed given notice that she is not concerned with what happens to those nations that she cannot dominate politically.

* * *

She has shown, in the way she has forced the nations closest to her to line up with her, that she gives the orders where she gives economic assistance and where she holds political control. That is not freedom for any man or any nation. It may be good business to accept this kind of control for a time, but I think history will show that control built on force is always somewhat precarious.

In the old days, it used to be said, "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." Partly because there were many problems facing kings and partly because very few of them felt they were beloved by the people over whom they ruled, the saying represented a true condition. It might well be said today that rulers who control people through force, and who cannot be removed by the simple process of the ballot, must occasionally feel some of the same uneasiness.