My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Monday—When I go traveling I get a chance to catch up on my reading. Yesterday I read what had been sent me as an advance clip an article in Life by Adlai Stevenson, entitled, "Candidate Tells Candid Story."

I think the article is delightful, honest and revealing of his own character and his own thinking. I enjoyed his quoting Jan Struthers' verses, which were written under the heading "Stevenson's Speech" and begin:

"John Doe he heard a speech.
It didn't plead, it wasn't wild.
It didn't treat him like a child.
John Doe scratched his head.
John Doe smiled and said,
Richard wouldn't understand
But as for me I think it's grand."

The words I like best, however, are Stevenson's own words:

"We live in a time for greatness and greatness cannot be measured alone by the yardsticks of resources, know-how and production. There are moral dimensions, too. It is the urgent duty of a political leader to lead, to touch, if he can, the potential of reason, decency and humanism in man and not only the strivings that are easier to mobilize.

"The challenge of our faith and time is the insensate worship of matter organized in a vast international conspiracy. But the goal of life is more than material advance. It is now and to all eternity the triumph of spirit over matter, of love and liberty over force and violence."

In those last words Governor Stevenson has set down for us the great differences between ourselves and the Soviet Union.

I will acknowledge there are cruelties that we find in our system because there are failings in human nature.

I will acknowledge that we do not always find the way of love and liberty, but that is our goal. We strive, and the striving is probably what is really worthwhile in human life. You rarely attain finality. If you did life would be over, but as you strive new visions open before you, new possibilities for the satisfaction of living.

Here in Washington the wind was blowing yesterday and it was cold. March was coming in, like a lion, so I hope it goes out like a lamb. I hope we have no late frosts in April to nip the spring buds. I was afraid the trees and plants would mistake our warm February days for spring and begin to come up to greet the sun. But perhaps our recent mild weather didn't last long enough to make them sprout.

I read in yesterday's newspaper that Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson was going to give us a new farm policy. Many of us who are not farmers but who feel that farming is a very basic necessity in every country will be extremely interested to see what new ideas he will bring forth.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Washington (D.C., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 3, 1953

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
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

TEI-P5 edition published on 2017-04-28

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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.