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


NEW YORK, Wednesday—It was inevitable of course that the Republicans, having no very strong issues, should decide to use the Korean situation as a campaign issue in the United States. This is, however, one of those decisions that makes one a little sad, because it is so evident that for partisan reasons questions are to be exploited that might much better not be discussed in such a manner.

It is interesting that General MacArthur has become a General under the protection of the Republicans! As a matter of fact, at the moment he is a United Nations General and not a United States General only. Most of us seem to have forgotten that he is one of the few United States Generals who is still on active service long after the age of retirement has been reached, and no one has suggested that as a General he is not doing his job well, but any criticism is resented by our Republican lawmakers.

It is generally accepted that foreign policy statements are not made by Generals, but that in every branch of the government it is those responsible for certain policies who are entitled to talk about them. This is just ordinary good organization practice, whether in government or in business.

Why there should be all this excitement at present, because the proper person to make a statement on a certain question has suggested that the improper person must remain quiet on the subject, is a mystery. It seems quite a tempest in a teapot which is taking up a good deal of the time of many important people, and that time might be given to other more important questions. General MacArthur has been praised for his conduct of the war, why not leave it at that?

I find a great many people just now are somewhat unhappy because in the years of the war they went to meetings and associated with people without knowing much about the people or the association. No one talked to them about subversive organizations unless they were Nazi or Fascist organizations.

Gradually, since the war, many of the individuals and associations that were quite harmless and acceptable during the war, have become dangerous because they are now Communist, and therefore subversive. It follows from this then, that what you did during the war although entirely harmless in those days, may get you into trouble today.

Even when lists are published of subversive organizations the great mass of people never read them, so it is entirely possible for some people to unwittingly place themselves in a position where they are called upon to explain why they associated with such and such a group, or went to such and such a meeting. The answer is usually that too little thought was given in the past to what lay under the surface.

There is no excuse, of course, for not knowing something which has been published in the papers. The fact remains that there are millions of people in this country who do not read one tenth of one percent of what is published in the newspapers of the United States. There are large sections of people in this country who take no interest in politics, unfortunate and sad as that is, now they are faced with the results of their lack of interest, and some of them are surprised and worried.

We who live in a democracy must be constantly watching ourselves, and trying to stimulate others to recognize their responsibility to take an active interest in political developments, both at home and abroad.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 31, 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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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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.