of communion, a feeling
In the middle of the United States of America’s part in World War 2, EB White got a request from the War Department to write out the meaning of Democracy.
In the the Notes and Comment section of the July 3, 1943 edition of The New Yorker magazine, Mr. White’s response was printed.
Andy White wrote:
We received a letter from the Writers’ War Board the other day asking for a statement on “The Meaning of Democracy.”
It presumably is our duty to comply with such a request, and it is certainly our pleasure.
Surely the Board knows what democracy is.
It is the line that forms on the right.
It is the don’t in don’t shove.
It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles; it is the dent in the high hat.
Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.
It is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths, the feeling of communion in the libraries, the feeling of vitality everywhere.
Democracy is a letter to the editor.
Democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth.
It is an idea which hasn’t been disproved yet, a song the words of which have not gone bad.
It’s the mustard on the hot dog and the cream in the rationed coffee.
Democracy is a request from a War Board, in the middle of a morning in the middle of a war, wanting to know what democracy is.
It is the don’t in don’t shove ought to be added to our money just under In God We Trust.
And that Library feeling of Communion.
I guess you feel it or you don’t.
If you don’t you have my sympathy.
I hope you enjoy the mustard on the hot dog.
My youngest son is named Ellington.
His middle name is Bernard after his Grand Father.
I snuck an EB into the family without telling anyone.