August 1956 Home   Newsletters

September 1956

October 1956

Calendar of Events
Ticket to Freedom
Charter Commission
Unit Meetings
Voters' Service Views - Non-Partisan Rally
Voters' Service Views - Proposed Site for New Jail
Report at 22nd National Convention (Mrs. John G. Lee)

[ Report at the 22nd National Convention ]

Mrs. John G. Lee; President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S.A. in her report at the 22nd National Convention said:

"I think we should resolve to restore to the word democracy its former dignity by using it freely, honestly and courageously.

I propose to do so. It has profound meaning for us and for the world and we should strive to make its meaning clear.

As I see it, democracy is more than a form of government, it is not an end in itself, it is a process. The word process is defined in my dictionary as "a series of progressive and interdependent steps by which an end is attained. The steps in the democratic process are taken in the framework of a set of principles and the end is to advance the capacities and the aspirations of the individual human being. This makes of democracy a living, growing and changing experience. The degree to shish we adhere to our principles throughout this developing experience determines the character of our democracy. Translated into our daily lives these principles form the moral values which govern our conduct as a nation. It is hardly necessary to list them all, but I suggest as the primary ones: respect for truth and fact, belief in liberty and justice, and regard for discipline and cooperation.

In this frame of reference the League of Women Voters is a process and not an end in itself. As long as the League retains its original purpose, so long will American democracy and the League remain indivisible.

* * * * * * * * * *

As I see Leagues in operation, I become more and more persuaded that the key to success lies in the attitudes of those participating. If you believe League work to be a terrible struggle and approach it with reluctance and misgivings, most likely it will turn out that way. If you approach League work as a valued opportunity to carry forward your belief in American democracy, you will be rewarded by a knowledge that you are helping to make it a reality; but even more significant, the experience will develop your own capacities, it will cause you to grow, it will add immeasurably to your personal sense of fulfillment by providing you with a practical way to make your town, your state, your nation (and perhaps the world) a better place to live in for those who follow. If we see it thus, enjoyment and satisfaction are inherent.

Reluctance to work in the League and tarry responsibility are but a reflection of broader attitudes in the nation at large in regard to public affairs. As someone has sad "The invention of America was far more important than the discovery of America." An invention is of no value unless we make it work for us. The invention of the League is only as good as the use we put it to. I trust you will be eternally grateful for the privilege of being a part of it and profoundly moved and inspired by a vision of what it can mean. Before this Convention is over, I hope each one of you will see this League of ours in its truly great dimensions.

Mrs. John G. Lee

August 1956 Top   Home   Newsletters October 1956