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

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NEW YORK, Friday—There have been some interesting results in the few primary elections that have taken place this week.

In Alabama, for instance, the pro-Truman candidates are in the lead, with the tabulation still incomplete, in 41 districts for committeemen, while the States Righters were ahead in 30 districts. One uncommitted candidate held a big lead for another seat.

In Indiana there was no change as between the present incumbents, seven Democrats and four Republicans were renominated.

In Ohio, State Auditor Joseph P. Ferguson won the Democratic nomination and will oppose Senator Robert A. Taft in November.

Senator Claude Pepper lost the nomination to Representative George Smathers in Florida. Naturally, the Republicans are cheered by this, since they call it a trend to conservatism and therefore in opposition to the President.

As a matter of fact, I think the Republicans can take little comfort from anything that happens in the South. It is obvious there that anyone fighting for civil rights and having the reputation of a liberal would probably lose to a more conservative Democrat. I think Florida may find that it has lost a good representative, but perhaps they will be more accurately represented by a less liberal candidate. The state, as a whole, probably is not exactly liberal in its tendencies. One could hardly expect that as yet in the South, though I see great changes coming about there, particularly where the younger people are concerned.

I went again Tuesday night with my son, Elliott, and two young friends to see "The Consul" because I wanted to see Patricia Neway who had not been in the part the first time I saw the play.

Extraordinarily vivid as the first impression was, I think the second time made no less of an impression. I wish that everyone who hesitates about allowing displaced persons to enter our country could see the play and realize what "papers, papers, papers" mean when ordinary human feelings are at stake.

In addition, I think it gives those who have no understanding of it, a very vivid picture of a dictatorship. This is what the people of many countries have lived under and this is what we must guard against. The music was as beautifully fitting as was my first impression and though one may not be able to enjoy this play one is deeply stirred by it.

For political differences of opinion, the little family in the play suffered. In free countries you can vote against the head of the state or a prime minister and you do not have to resort to violence. But the minute a fascist or communistic police state is in possession of a country there can be no freedom of thought or action. The people become pawns and the surveillance is so strict they cannot even defend themselves from the existing situation.

The difficulty, of course, that we are going through in the United States at the present time is that certain people here feel that in order to prevent the rise of the Communist peril it is safe to indulge in fascist methods. So, to prevent one thing you build the very thing you fear.

Not many of us understand that, and that is why I think we should zealously preserve the right of every man to express his opinion and to act as he thinks best, so long as he does not advocate the violent overthrow of the government. Those are our old principles and I think they should be continued.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 5, 1950

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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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.