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

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NEW YORK, Thursday—Yesterday evening, a young housewife came to see me on a mission that is a credit to her and to the average American. This young woman has two children, three and five years old, and she feels keenly that every individual should be doing something to improve the relationship between this nation and the other nations that have suffered so much in Europe and in Asia. What could she, she asked, as an individual not belonging to any organization but having a small amount of time and a little surplus in spite of high prices, do to help create friendship for the United States?

I am sure that same question is in the hearts of women all over this country. Yesterday noon in the radio program which the women of the Democratic party put on in celebration of National Democratic Women's Day, we pledged ourselves to observe President Truman's proposals in our households and to try to promote the observance among our friends and acquaintances. This in itself, of course, is a help to us, for it will help to bring prices down. It follows, therefore, that the saving of foodstuffs will help the other peoples of the world.

There is abundant evidence on every hand, I think, of the goodwill of American men and women toward other men and women throughout the world.

The Marshall Plan, for example, is the expression of that goodwill on the government level. But there are people in this country who feel that the time has come to be selfish. I have heard such people remark both after World War I and World War II, that "we pick up the pieces and help other people and all we get for it is dislike and hatred. Why should we do it now?"

The mass of the people do not feel this way, however. They know the answer is obvious. We don't live in a world by ourselves. If the rest of the world suffers, eventually we suffer, too. It looks to many people today as though the Russians are making every effort to create fear of us and illwill between us and the other nations of the world. Curiously enough, I imagine the Soviets think they intimidate us, instead of which they only annoy us and make us more determined to prove our goodwill and to show that democracy can really serve the interests of the people as a whole.

One thing interests me. It may be the result of long discipline in public life, but even in the midst of anger and turmoil, such as we had the other day in our United Nations committee meeting, I can never feel any personal dislike or antagonism for any of my colleagues. I like my opponents even though I dislike the things for which they stand! I can often see the reasons why they believe certain things, and though I know they are wrong in believing them, I can't be angry with them. I just grow slightly impatient over the fact that people can be so stupid when so much is at stake.

War brings in its train all the evils that we are suffering from, and then these evils create more wars. Only a firm determination that we will not have war, and that we will work together will bring the cooperation that in itself would be a revolutionary change.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 10, 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.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.