Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Eleanor Roosevelt - Real Liberalism Not Libertarian Indifference

From time to time I've been going back to read Eleanor Roosevelt's My Day columns and have decided to post points of continuing relevancy to the world today.  It's the same reason I go and read Molly Ivins columns, they are a cure for discouragement.  This one is certainly relevant to the Republican's agitation against health care and related issues and the eternally awful and corrupt Senate, where democracy and the public good are sent to die.

AUGUST 6, 1962

NEW YORK—I don't know how some of the rest of the country may feel about the matter, but Herblock's cartoon the other day of Sen. James O. Eastland and Sen. Everett M. Dirksen, that Dixiecrat-Republican combination, reading the news of the horrible infant deformities resulting from use of untested drugs, made shivers run up and down my spine. In the waste basket behind those two prosperous, comfortable men is the Kefauver drug reform bill, which they helped to defeat in the name of free enterprise, and the caption under the cartoon has the two saying to each other: "Yeah, it's almost enough to make you want to do something."

How much longer are the people of this country going to stand for men in the Senate who act from pocket interest, not from real intelligence and study? What can the world think of a country like ours that does not control its drug industry but succumbs to the lobby of drug manufacturers? These are evil men who combine together to scratch each other's backs. When in the Southern states some of our citizens try to exercise the basic American right of registering and voting, only to have young hoodlums break up their meetings, there is no censure from these gentlemen. Yet somehow the two things—the situation in Georgia and the situation on the control of the sale of drugs -- have a connection. If you don't want your fellow citizens to have the right peacefully to protest their wrongs or to try and remedy them, what more natural than that you should be among those who consider free enterprise more sacred than human lives? I hope that all over this country there is a mounting knowledge about both situations. Believing as I do that people are basically good and sound, I cannot believe that there will not be a tremendous revulsion against those who hold the materialistic point of view of Senator Eastland and Senator Dirksen.

1 comment:

  1. You're making me pinpoint the error in reasoning of the anti-vaxx crowd. It's the age old problem of historical ignorance.

    I've encountered too many commenters who would be amazed that this column and cartoon reflect conditions in the country before they were born and Ronald Reagan was President and the world actually went to hell because of the GOP and the "South." I still remember Chris Hayes being surprised on his own show that MLK was not revered as a saint in his lifetime, but treated as an outsider and an agitator by reasonable white men who were national TV news journalists, calmly asking Dr. King why he was so "uppity" (they only avoided using the word, nothing more).

    It's an old pattern, and not a peculiarly American one. It only takes a few people, especially in the case of vaccines, to decide whatever problems the world had before they came along are old and gone ("Bronze Age") and every problem now is sui generis with no roots in anything older than their personal memories.

    I join your praise of Mrs. Roosevelt's writing. I just stand to say "Same as it ever was." The problems we work on are deep, and old, and won't be solved by an election, or by comments on a webloid.