The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I sometimes wonder whether the people of this country clearly understand exactly what they face at the present time, both at home and abroad. In a curious way, the lines are similarly drawn in both domestic and foreign policy.

Either we abandon our fears at home and fight for the realities of democracy to which we are pledged, or little by little we will see our cherished freedoms whittled away. People afraid to speak their minds, people afraid to meet for discussions of unpopular subjects, people afraid to be seen talking with certain other people, people afraid to be known to read certain books—all these are afraid not because of any valid wrongdoing, but just because of what might be suspected. You are no longer innocent until proven guilty—you are in a position where you must be prepared to prove your innocence.

In foreign affairs we must make up our minds to openly strengthen those nations which believe in the kind of freedom in which we believe, and in the value of the human personality. This means economic assistance, not military support. It means making it possible for people to fight their own battles by helping them back to independence and strength in their domestic economy.

But even the assistance which we give to nations in Europe will be of little value unless they can see here the actual functioning of the kind of government which brings people a satisfactory existence. There was a time when news did not cover the globe almost instantaneously. Today the people of Rumania or Bulgaria know all about the things that happen in the United States. We cannot have a trial in the South which involves racial discrimination and not have it discussed in the countries of Europe and Asia.

* * *

It is expensive to give leadership in the world of today and it requires an expanding of the vision and understanding of our statesmen, but it also requires the same expanding of heart and soul and mind among our people as a whole. It means that we cannot be so concerned with our own well-being that we do not take a long view of the possibilities of the future.

Peace in the future requires that the United States and the USSR find a way of cooperating. If we do not stay together, then we start lining up a struggle, which may be military or may be economic but which in both cases would be disastrous to the people.

Even my little dog Fala knows that, when a young rival for attention and affection appears on the scene, it is better to play with him and make friends, rather than to sulk. He trusts to sharing in the radiance of the new and ascending star, instead of building up his defenses and trying to preserve the "status quo" only to find that the new star has gone around one's barriers and found someone else with whom to cooperate. Fala makes friends and keeps the situation in hand.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 28, 1947

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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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.