My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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LOGAN, Utah —It is beginning to become very tiresome to read that the Republican National Committee is still asking for recounts of votes in the Presidential election. There is no question that in some of our big cities there may have been dishonesty in counting the votes, and this practice certainly should be stamped out. But that goal cannot be achieved by keeping alive a state of uncertainity about the election results. This situation must lead many throughout the world to believe that our democratic processes are rather inefficient.

I have just read one interesting election analysis, which should bring home one point to the American people. An article in one of our Western newspapers stated that Vice-President Nixon would have carried Illinois, Nevada, Missouri and New Mexico if he had received one more vote in each precinct of those states. In other words, if one more person who would have voted for Nixon had gone to the polls, but instead stayed at home and did not vote, the count would have resulted in a tie. If, however, any one person who had voted for Senator Kennedy had stayed at home, Nixon would have won.

So, this analysis shows, it is borne in on us again how important each individual vote is and that none of us should forego the privilege, which is the basic right of everyone in a democracy.

I think people tend to forget that their secret ballot is the one thing we can count on to keep us a free country. It is the one thing in which each of us, rich and poor alike, are equal. We can make up our individual minds on the knowledge that we have acquired about candidates and issues, and this is one of the invaluable gifts of a democratic nation.

One of the most important decisions President-elect Kennedy has announced, it seems to me, will be the return to a different kind of setup from the present one in the Presidential office. Under President Eisenhower a type of general staff was instituted, with someone serving directly under the President who took over many of the tasks that ordinarily had been in the President's own hands. This no doubt evolved from the fact that a military man is accustomed to having finished plans presented to him by a staff that studied and evaluated facts and did not have to weigh intangibles in the way civilian plans require when under consideration.

It looks very much as if Mr. Kennedy intends to keep right on top of the changing scene and to have no one come between him and his Cabinet officers or have no one control the subordinate officers who work in the executive offices.

One of the most important people working in the White House for the President is the secretary in charge of making appointments. It is obvious that members of the House and Senate must be seen almost at once when they request it, and very often the President will demand their prompt attention. Such appointments are the way in which the President keeps the feel of different interests in different parts of the country.

Another duty of the appointments secretary is to arrange meetings between the President and a wide variety of people, such as bankers, labor leaders, agricultural leaders, industralists, and just plain people. And the more he will keep in touch with them the easier it is for the President to feel the needs of the people.

Also, every time he makes a speech a President gets an opportunity to hear the reaction of people from different parts of the country through his mail. And this actually can become very good dialogue between the people and the President if care is taken to analyze the mail as it comes in and to give the President a good cross section of its content.


(Copyright, 1960, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Logan (UT, United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 7, 1960

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