My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Wednesday—Everyone was shocked here on Monday afternoon when news came that a group of Puerto Rican terrorists had fired on members of the House. They apparently made no attempt to escape so it was the type of martyrdom for a cause which is popular with Communist-inspired groups. These people seem to belong to the same group that tried to kill President Truman, in 1950, and it is difficult to understand why they have not been followed and watched ever since. There must have been some laxness on the part of the FBI, or the guards at the Capitol, it seems to me, would have been alerted not to allow any suspicious characters to enter the galleries of the House.

One hopes that those who were shot will recover quickly but apparently Representative Alvin M. Bentley of Michigan is still in a serious condition. One can only hope for their ultimate recovery. The accounts of the injuries sustained by Representative Bentley sound very serious indeed.

Mr. Key of the State Department made an address on Monday afternoon to the plenary meeting of the AAUN conference in Washington which I am attending and in the evening a really very interesting session addressed by four excellent speakers kept the entire audience listening until 10:30 p.m .

First the U.N. reporter for the Christian Science Monitor, Mr. Fry, spoke; then the U.N. reporter for the New York Times, Mr. Hamilton. They were followed by Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin, who gave an excellent speech supporting the U.N. and finally ex-Senator Graham stirred everyone present by a speech of real spiritual quality.

There was an editorial in the Washington Post on Tuesday morning about the executive's responsibility to his party, as regards Senator McCarthy and his tactics. It is undoubtedly felt by the Republican party that an open break with the Senator would divide the party and bring political disaster.

There is no question but that it is better for a party to be united but if within the party there is an element which is evidently dangerous to the country it would seem to be essential for that party's future success that they remove that danger which threatens the well–being of the country as a whole. Neither the Republican nor the Democratic party wins an election by carrying their own party voters alone. Increasingly, year by year, we have had elections in which people moved from support of one party to the other either because of individual candidates or individual issues. This is known as the independent vote and I think it has assumed larger and larger proportions.

There are a great many people in this group today who look upon the issue posed by Mr. McCarthy and what is popularly known as "McCarthyism" as an issue which is concerned with the freedom of individual citizens. In the editorial I mentioned there are two sentences which should be carefully considered throughout our nation. They are, "Skillful demogogue has persuaded Americans to fight each other instead of the enemy. In the process American institutions are being sabotaged and American moral fibers snapped."



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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 4, 1954

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.