My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WILKES-BARRE, Pa. —Sometimes one is amazed about dictatorships! They seem willing to ignore world public opinion.

In Yugoslavia, a man was imprisoned because he expressed his point of view about the Communist idea and its development and he was recondemned because his book was published abroad. In a free country, however, there would be no thought of imprisonment because one differed with the idea of the ruling party, whatever it might be.

Now we read that Georgi Zhukov has lost all his posts and is accused of using the Army for "cult of personality." This means, I suppose, that he is opposed to wiping out all individuality in the Army. As an Army officer, he probably realized that a little personality and freedom of thought is sometimes essential to working out a campaign.

I must say the idea of a "cult of personality" is new to me, and perhaps I do not completely understand what horrible crimes it covers, but the fact that high officials are taken to task and suddenly lose their usefulness and are removed from any possibility of real service is almost incredible.

The great problem that faces the free countries today, I think, is whether we can meet advances brought about by the type of dictatorship government which permits no freedom for the individual but, as a government, grants some small advantages to keep individuals from complete rebellion.

Can our system of freedom, in which the individual demands that he be considered first and the government second, keep up the race?

It is true that it is hard to exact from people, who live under a free system, things that they do not want to do to keep up with the advances of a dictatorship, such as the Soviet Union, in the production of materials of war.

This is a question some individual or some group should be asked to sit down and study carefully—what must be given up, what price must be paid to successfully compete with the dictatorship and still remain free. It is not as easy as it sounds, and it is a problem which the best brains of the country might well be studying at the present time.

A public opinion poll still shows that President Eisenhower is approved by 57 percent of the people. The highest point of his popularity which he ever reached was in August, 1955, when 79 percents of the people gave him a vote of approval following the Geneva summit conference.

Now, according to this poll, which asks the question: "Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mr. Eisenhower is handling the job of President?," 57 percent still approve, 27 percent disapprove and 16 percent have no opinion.

How anyone can be without an opinion in the present state of affairs of the nation seems bewildering. But perhaps there are ways of remaining completely neutral if you fail to look at what is going on around you!


(Copyright, 1957, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Wilkes-Barre (Pa., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 8, 1957

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.