Eleanor Roosevelt: My Day:
HYDE PARK, Sunday—It is serious and sad reading that we cannot reach peaceful decisions between employers and employees without strikes, even when so much is at stake as in the tie-up of our shipping. When you realize that this not only means losses to employers, shippers and wage-earners, but also may result in actual starvation in many countries throughout the world, you wonder why it is not possible for reasonable men to come to just arrangements.
There is risk that our troops in many countries will not receive their supplies and thus be forced to make life even harder for the people in occupied countries. And the consequences seem to go on endlessly—yet the only thing dividing us here in this country is an economic situation.
When you try to arrange matters between nations, you have racial, political and economic questions involved. It seems to me we are giving a very poor example of our people's ability to govern themselves and settle their differences.
Mayor O'Dwyer so far has been unable to get the employers and employees together in the trucking strike, and so the people of the great city of New York will be living on the bare essentials. This will cause a vast loss from the economic standpoint, but will also mean real suffering to a great many persons.
The effect of what we do over here is so far-reaching today that we have no right to be as irresponsible as we are showing ourselves to be in these two great strikes. I suppose labor will accuse management and management will accuse labor, and government will say that it has done what it could to bring them together. There is only one voice left to be heard. That is the voice of the public, and I think they had better say in no uncertain terms that labor and management committees must be formed and they must come to agreements.
On Friday I visited the Emma Hardy Memorial Home in Cornwall-on-Hudson, where blind people under care of the Lighthouse in New York City come in groups of 45 for a two-weeks vacation. Many of them are cases who really need help and adjustment to a new and terrible handicap, and things are so arranged for them here that they find themselves more able to do things alone. For instance, wires are strung all along the paths so they can take walks alone. They learn to bowl in the direction of a voice, often getting a ten-strike.
The group I saw yesterday were older men, for the most part, but I could not help feeling that this must be a lift to health and to morale in lives that might well be fairly drab the rest of the year. We lunched afterwards at the Storm King Arms with Mrs. Sidney Sherwood and a few of the staff, and I returned in time to greet my weekend guests.