JUNE 16, 1961
WASHINGTON —I have been on a very rapid jump from one coast to the other. Last Monday night I was in Phoenix, Ariz., and was interested to find that much curiosity exists about Tractors for Freedom. Apparently many Arizona newspapers have carried only adverse points of view on our effort to free the Cuban invaders from Premier Castro.
One reason for this, I suppose, is Mr. Barry Goldwater. Another is a general Republican trend in the people themselves in that area.
The feeling on the part of a number of people, however, is that there must be some other side to the picture. I explained with care that there are always two points of view on everything, and that it is wise to hear both in order to decide for oneself how one feels. Of course, one can only do this after having been exposed to the whole picture.
Sen. Barry Goldwater is a charming and delightful man, and he undoubtedly believes in his point of view. In this connection I read in Wednesday morning's newspapers that he had stated the spending programs and fiscal policy of the New Frontier are "playing right into the hands of the Kremlin leaders whose determination has long been to bleed America white."
This speech was given at the luncheon on Tuesday of the Sales Executives Club in New York and attended by 1,200 people. An official of the club said this was the largest attendance at any luncheon in the club's history, so this particular group must have wanted to hear Senator Goldwater and his ideas very much indeed.
There probably are not many people who still remember that in the Hoover campaign in 1932, when the banks were failing and employment was at the lowest possible ebb, we were told that if my husband, who was the Democratic nominee running against Mr. Hoover, was elected, the collapse of our whole economy would come, we would be completely impoverished, and grass would grow in our streets. Somehow I was reminded of this by Senator Goldwater's remarks.
"Believe me," he said, "it will make no difference if we are the best-educated, best-clothed and best-fed people in the world, if our economic underpinnings are compromised."
One cannot help wondering whether the Senator believes that people who are all these things will allow their economic underpinnings to be compromised.
If you are well-fed and well-clothed you must have earned the wherewithal to buy the food and clothes, and so the farmers would be better off and the manufacturers would be better off. If you are better housed, you would have employed a great many people in construction all over the country. This would give money to spend and put it in circulation. If, by chance, you are the best-educated people in the world—and educated not as the Germans were but on real democratic and humanitarian principles—then you are going to have the intelligence to understand the world as it is today: to know that you cannot keep your economic underpinnings sound unless you help the rest of the world to have good economic underpinnings as well.
President Kennedy has told us time after time that sacrifices would have to be made by the people in this country. Perhaps they will be made not in education and not in the essential matters of food and clothing and housing. But perhaps they will be made in ways in which the Senator and his ilk may not have quite as much money to spend in ways that do not benefit the community as a whole. We may find ourselves not as able to have certain "over-luxuries." Why, I heard while I was in Arizona of someone who had four swimming pools. It seems to me that one might get by with merely two!
There are a number of ways in which more people can have more things and the few will still have their luxuries and life will still be very pleasant. But some things we have come to think of as essentials may have to be done away with in whole or in part. Life will be a little easier for many than it has ever been before and I do not think the other will suffer very much.
I am tired of this frightening of Americans about their economic underpinnings. All of us know we do not want inflation. And some of us know that if we all have what we really need there will be people among us who will not have quite the luxuries they have had in the past.
Those who really know the dangers are not against paying for things at the time we undertake to get them done. And most of us are not opposed to seeing that the country as a whole has what it needs for its defense, and we had better wake up to the fact that education is part of the nation's defense effort.
(Copyright, 1961, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
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About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 16, 1961
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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