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

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NEW YORK—I was amused to find myself, at a lecture Wednesday night, picketed by a new group—one, I suppose, which is an off-shoot of the Birchites.

There were only a few in the group, standing outside and handing out lists of what they said was a part of all the subversive, Communist and Communist-front organizations I have ever belonged to.

Their leaflets were headed by these words:

“Even more than either hell or a woman scorned, there is no fury quite like that of a liberal about whom someone is publishing past performance data.”

I can assure the gentleman responsible for the information being handed out, Roger Abel, that I am not in the least annoyed—only vastly amused.

Some of the organizations mentioned I have been connected with for very good reasons at the time. Others I have never even heard of, but that may be because the time is so long past that I have forgotten about them. That they were mentioned on this list as being either Communist, subversive or Communist-front organizations does not make them any one of these things.

I doubt that listing the American Association for the United Nations as subversive makes it so. I think this would be news indeed to a great many on the board of directors. Some of them may even be so excited as to want to take legal action against Mr. Abel, though I hope not, for I feel such accusations are always better met by ridicule and allowing time for the real truth to come out.

I noticed also that this group made the mistake of so many others—of listing the American Civil Liberties Union as a Communist-front organization. This long-established and respectable group is repeatedly being confused with the American Civil Liberties Congress, which I believe has been questioned as a possible Communist-front organization.

I am enormously interested in knowing that I have been associated with the National Lawyers Guild. I am not a lawyer, so I wonder just how I served in that organization.

I could pick organization after organization on the list and question the exactness of the information, but the greatest wonder of all is how any group can spare the time or money for such piffling work. What good do they do? This is the question the public sooner or later will decide.

I noticed in a California paper the other day that a young Republican leader is careful to call himself a right-winger but also to assure his constituency that he has never been a member of the John Birch Society. But he does admit the society has had an impact on the Republican party.

This leader alerts persons not previously interested in politics to dangers of the Communist menace. I wonder if he also will tell them that these extreme right-wingers are playing into the hands of the Communists.

They are doing what they can to destroy the U.N. So are the Communists, and nothing would please the Communists more than to see the right-wing groups really damage the prestige of the U.N. So a supposedly anti-Communist group is serving the Communist cause. Interesting, isn't it?

It looks as if there will really have to be a showdown at the next Republican national convention between the liberals and the extreme conservatives. If the extreme conservatives should win out, it would mean that for the first time in a long while there would be a clear-cut difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. So, without creating a third party, we would have a clear distinction between liberals and conservatives of the extreme right.

This would be a relief because when the Democrats have claimed to have initiated certain types of legislation, the Republicans often have said they were not opposed to this legislation; they just wanted to carry it out in a more efficient manner. Now, if this sharp difference between the two parties should be drawn, the people of the country will have a clear-cut choice.

I sometimes think that one of the real desires of the extreme right is to turn the clock back and live in the world of our forefathers, ignoring all modern conditions and developments. Unfortunately, this is unrealistic.


(Copyright, 1961, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 15, 1961

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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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.