JULY 14, 1950
HYDE PARK, Thursday—The other day I was sent a four page ad which appeared in the newspapers of three cities. The personnel supervisor sends out the ad, and the manager of operations encloses a card which reads that the enclosed ad "is really very much worth while from the hearts of God fearing American working men and women. More of this would mean less of the other!" By this I am sure he meant that the affirmation of what we believe in as a democracy should be broadcast, and that those affirmations of our belief will be a far stronger weapon than anything which the Communists can do.
This point is admirably emphasized in the ad and I am entirely in agreement, and like to see the stand taken that we should fight for the principles of our democracy, that we should state them clearly, understand them, and speak out in their support.
There is only one paragraph that I question which reads as follows: "As free men we proclaim our beliefs: that as free men, proud of our achievements and jealous of our rights, that there is no place in our midst for Communists, fellow travellers and other cranks who, by wild accusations and empty promises, would lead us down the trail to political slavery."
I wonder if you can actually prevent there being some people of this kind in our midst, if we do not intend to tolerate some of the very things we are trying to prevent, namely, the establishment of a gestapo in our midst, and the curtailment of the right of free speech and free association.
When I was in London recently we drove past Hyde Park Corner where the cranks are always holding forth on soap boxes. I was told that one of our eminent lawyers, Mr. John W. Davis, said to a Londoner that this was one of the most interesting spots in London. All my life I have heard people say that this is also one of the practices which is a great safeguard to British democracy. People can blow off steam, they can be listened to and laughed at. Sometimes they say something that may inspire people but, in any event, the mere fact that they are allowed to say whatever they want to say, and to believe whatever they want to believe, is one of the things which forms a strong background of pride in the British people, because they feel they are trusted to hear anything and still remain true to their own beliefs and their own form of democracy. That is one of the things that we, in America, need to think about today. We should not be so afraid of communism that we fall into the ways of a Communist or Fascist government. Surely we are strong enough in our own beliefs so that we can state them and live by them, without becoming totalitarian to protect ourselves.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1950, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 14, 1950
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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