My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

PHOENIX, Thursday—The headline in the local newspaper Wednesday morning was characteristic of the difference in the interests of various parts of our country. EXTRA WATER OFFERED VALLEY was the streamer across the front page, and, beneath it, the story explained that the governors of the Salt River Water Users' Association had taken formal action on a decision reached at a recent special session to sink new wells as soon as possible to meet the water shortage.

This shows what I have always contended—that, on the material side, the interests of people center primarily about their own problems. Those must be met before we poor human beings really can concern ourselves with questions of the mind and spirit.

* * *

Berlin was on the front page too, but in talking with people here you realize that Berlin seems very far away.

One young woman told me of her first trip across the United States and what an impression the size and variety of the country had made upon her. She had been reared in a small area in the northwestern part of the country, and her cross-country trip had opened new vistas to her. She knew Portland, Ore., and its problems, but she had no idea of the vastness and productive capacity of other parts of the country.

This same thing is true of many of our Congressmen in Washington, as well as of our citizens at home. A congressman goes to Washington frequently quite untouched by the problems of other areas and has to learn that a national government has to be concerned about all parts of the country and how situations in one area react on other parts of the country.

* * *

I was interested to find that some people I talked with from the Northwest area—which has just undergone the terrible floods—feel that the emphasis during the next few years in our government should be in conserving our national resources.

That is a sign that the pioneer, wasteful period has come to an end, and that we now understand that what we have must be developed and used to the best possible advantage. These people feel that the generation of returned GI's, who are being educated in that area, are going to be very conscious of the need for reforestation, prevention of floods, development of our water resources and conservation of our public lands.

The strong influence, exerted in the past by the lumber and cattle interests, that has tended to destroy areas which were needed not only as beauty and vacation spots but for the preservation of water sources, will be understood and prevented by the citizens of the future.

These people also feel we should think of the conservation of oil, and of the value of research to discover new fuels and new methods for conservation. They are sure that our legislators soon will be made aware of the changes in outlook of our younger generation, who no longer belong to the lavish years of prodigal waste but wish to see us concentrate on the proper use and development of all we have.

E. R.