Monday, November 23, 2015

Our Yesterdays

“Abuses anywhere, however isolated they may appear, can end by becoming abuses everywhere.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

I’ve just read the Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt and recommend it to all.  It gives a first-person account of our yesterdays (history) in the 20th century.  We cannot understand where we are today in this 21st century if we do not know where we were yesterday. On her seventy-fifth birthday (1960) Eleanor wrote the following:

I knew nothing of what was happening
in the world in 1944!
“So I come to the larger objective, not mine…but America’s.  It seems to me that America’s objective today should be to try to make herself the best possible mirror of democracy that she can.  The people of the world can see what happens here.  They watch us to see what we are going to do and how well we can do it.  We are giving them the only possible picture of democracy that we can:  the picture as it works in actual practice.  This is the only way other peoples can see for themselves how it works; and can determine for themselves whether this thing is good in itself, whether it is better than what they have, better than what other political and economic systems offer them.”

“The refugees of the world are a constant and painful reminder of the breakdown of civilization through the stupidity of war.  They are its permanent victims.  No time in history has known anything like the number of stateless people who have existed or survived the rigors of the past thirty years.”

“So an account of my seventy-fifth birthday ends, in spite of me, with a discussion of foreign affairs.  There is such a big, muddled world, so much to be done, so much that can be done if we increase our depth of understanding, in learning to care, in thinking of hunger not as an abstraction but as one empty stomach, in having a hospitable mind, open like a window to currents of air and to light from all sides.”

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