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

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NEW YORK, Monday—There seems to be no limit to the ways in which our patriotic organizations are trying to attack and destroy the United Nations. Many seem to feel that anything that shows there ought to be unity among all the peoples of the world means a lack of patriotism.

As a matter of fact, though we disagree heartily with the Communist theories, we should still, as good Republicans and Democrats, believe that the people who want to live by those theories have a right to try them out. Our quarrel with them is that their theories should not be extended by underhand methods in unsuspecting countries, nor should they be expanded by force.

When those who advocate such radical ideas believe in the overthrow of governments by force, then they are preaching treason—within our own country, for instance—and then we have a right to stop them. However, when they live within their own country according to their own principles, all we can do is to try to persuade them that they should let us see how their theories work and they should let their own people see, by travel and communication, how the rest of the world lives and works.

When our patriotic organizations begin to want to destroy, for instance, such things as the murals which were executed under a program directed from Washington by the Section of Fine Arts in the Public Buildings Administration in 1941, it seems to me we are going too far.

This agency opened a national competition for the paintings of 29 panels on the history of San Francisco for the lobby of the waterfront postoffice in that city. The fact that in these murals the Soviet Union is represented and that a number of other things in them displeased some patriotic groups is no reason for destroying a work of art which was accepted by the Section of Fine Arts.

I hope Commissioner Reynolds of the Public Buildings Administration will not permit the destruction of works of art because of a prejudice that exists but which surely is only a passing result in our country of a dislike for something which we, as a free people, find difficult to understand.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in accepting the question of the powers of the President for review, will help to clarify a question which for a long time has been in dispute.

For the very reason that our Constitution was written in general terms so as to be flexible and meet the changes that were bound to come over the years we have to interpret it from time to time. Even when the question of the powers of the President are resolved, we still will have the question of what actually is in dispute between the steel companies and the unions to discuss.

Could the steel companies grant the rise to the steelworkers to cover the increase in the cost of living without adding to the cost of steel and still make a reasonable profit?

Some figures put out by the steel companies themselves were shown to me and would indicate that this is quite possible. As a rule, a financial statement issued by these big companies is so complicated that no ordinary person can discover what they mean. But these figures indicated that there would still be enough to pay reasonable profits and necessary expansion investment even if this rise were granted.

In that event, in the interests of the country, it seems to me that the companies have an obligation to prevent further inflation and a stoppage of very vital raw materials that would affect the whole nation and our allies.

Everyone realizes that capital must have a reasonable return, but the word "reasonable" means less return than in the old days. The man who is working for a daily wage feels very quickly a rise in the cost of living and must be compensated when it is possible to do so.

This is a layman's point of view, but one which I find a great many people share.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 6, 1952

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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.