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


NEW YORK, Thursday—Rumors are emanating from Washington to the effect that Senator Robert A. Taft is making Senator Joseph R. McCarthy his chief lieutenant in his campaign for the Presidential nomination.

The only explanation of this seems to be that this particular element of the Republican party is placing its hope for victory in the fact that it may frighten the people of the United States to such an extent that all of us will accept as realities Senator McCarthy's jitters. He tells us that anyone who has a liberal idea or who wants to make practically any change that might better the lot of the people as a whole must be a Communist; that we have Communists in high places everywhere; and that they are or have been responsible for many of the important government policies.

Of course, this is quite evidently not true. But there is a bad result from all of this, namely, people with new ideas hesitate to bring them forward and people do begin to look with suspicion at almost all of their friends and neighbors. They magnify the weakness of the United States instead of gaining in confidence and realizing the great strength that is ours.

In the first place, we are a Christian country and the basis of our democratic life lies in the Christian religion. We have a Republican form of government through which we choose representatives, and we expect them to give us leadership, to keep their feet on the ground and to have courage.

The Lord meant us to pray when we are frightened and when we feel the need of help. None of us in ourselves can feel that we have the wisdom and courage to meet the happenings in our ordinary daily lives, much less to meet those in the troubled world of today. But there are many verses in the Bible that would remind us what strength there is in faith. And instead of encouraging fear, I would encourage our representatives to have faith in our great destiny which is now shaping up.

The leadership of the world is no easy undertaking and it will not be adequately met by fear. It must be met by strength and objectiveness. We ended World War II with great military strength backed by an enormous productive capacity. We made a very rapid transition to civilian production and stood the strain on our economy in an extraordinary way. We were too quick in throwing away controls; we were too quick in giving up our military strength. Therefore, now we are having to accept more sacrifice than we might otherwise have had to make.

To feel, however, that the people of the United States cannot understand the need, cannot accept the responsibility of leadership, cannot meet the sacrifices and also the goals of production and even the regimentation, if necessary, is to show little faith either in God or in ourselves.

I would not look for a Communist under every bed. I would believe that the vast majority of our people believe in their Republican form of government and their democratic way of life. I will accept the fact that we have to improve and constantly try to give benefits to more people within our own nation, but I will not believe that the terror and poverty of communism and their faith in materialism instead of in God can win in the struggle in which we are now engaged.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 16, 1951

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.