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


NEW YORK, Wednesday—It seems to me that we are being treated to an extraordinary spectacle at present when a United States Senator weeps in public and makes his case an emotional appeal.

A committee was set up to go over certain evidence carefully and dispassionately and—from the chairman down—I think this was done. It now remains for the whole of the Senate to act as dispassionately and without fear of emotional appeals made by Senator McCarthy.

The facts are now before the upper house. The decision has to be made on those facts and not on any emotional appeals which either the Senator or his protagonists may make. And all of us should try to be as impartial as possible in our judgment.

Many people feel that Senator McCarthy has done us a great service in awakening our country to an awareness of communism. Perhaps this was necessary, and perhaps he has done so. But now what might be helpful would be a little more understanding of what communism is.

Senator William F. Knowland has been quoted in the newspapers as saying that it is impossible to coexist in a world with Communists. But the fact remains that there are Communists. We cannot write them off unless we intend to start a third World War. That, it seems to me, is unthinkable in the light of all that we are told today about the destructive power of modern atomic weapons.

No nation really wishes to have its people engage in an atomic war. Since that is the case, we must seek the ways and means to show why we do not want the Communist type of slavery of mind and body in our country or in any other country.

Then we can decide what are the things we can do that will help other countries to understand the nature of communism, and demonstrate to other countries the value of our own free institutions. We must try to show them how our way of life has brought us so much economic well-being and how we can help a great part of the world in an economic way, both unilaterally and through the United Nations.

This is the price we have to pay to demonstrate the value of democracy, and I think it is a more favorable price than a war so destructive that we might find most of our civilization in ruins about us.

Conditions in our country are not conducive to the spread of communism, which is not to say that we should not try to make our conditions even better. But as compared to the rest of the world, our country is not fertile soil either for economic or ideological communism.

I think we should stop playing with the idea of war, and concentrate on what we can do to fight communism and what we can do to strengthen our own trust in democracy and its ability to meet the threat of communism.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 18, 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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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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.