Things reached fever pitch because of an epidemic of foreclosures and farm sales, because people with tons of money were making more, and people with far less were losing what little they had. When the little people got angry, they sang this song.
Let’s call a Farmers’ Holiday
A Holiday let’s hold
We’ll eat our wheat and ham and eggs
And let them eat their gold.
Amazingly--if I hadn't read it, I wouldn't believe it--farmers from way out here in Siouxland got together and screamed that they damned-well wouldn't take it anymore. In LeMars, Iowa, they grabbed a judge right out of his courtroom, dragged him outside into the stret, beat him up, and tried to make him swear he'd never foreclose on another farmer again. When he refused, they tossed him on a flatbed, took him outside of town, ripped off his pants, and threw a noose over his head. It was April 23, 1933, and it looked for all the world as if Judge Bradley had swung his last gavel.
They told him to pray, and he did, aloud, "Oh, Lord, I pray thee, do justice to all men."
Maybe it was the prayer that quelled the anger, but the ruckus ended with that prayer. Men got back in their trucks and left the judge there along the side of the road. It all happened right here in this little corner of the world, just outside of LeMars, Iowa.
I think of that story now, the same species of rancid bile rising just as angrily in me at those AIG fat cats who slop up gobs of federal money and then deal it out to the very crooks who led us all into this mess. In my bones a violent anger that registers itself as righteous builds, then boils. Everybody hates AIG today, Democrats and Republicans alike.
That no one knows the names of those 75 people getting bonuses from taxpayer money is quite amazing. But then again, if they were known, those greedy jerks would need flak jackets and a covey of Mr. Ts for armed guards.
Because of what I feel in my own heart and soul, I can, sadly enough, understand the rage of those beseiged farmers in 1933. When my grievance rises to fever-pitch and I can pinpoint a villian, hate still explodes in me. I don't think you have be young to yearn for the war path.
One of my students is enamored with the vision of a Russian, an ex-KGB operative, who has maintained for the last ten years already that America is simply going to fall apart in 2010. I think he's crazy--not the student, the Russian.
But when I feel what I do rise in me, I see visions that aren't pretty. What silly progressive reason do we have to believe that class warfare is safely beyond us?
I'd like to think that Judge Bradley's prayer could work now too, just as it did then.
Read the whole story of the LeMars mob at http://iowaindependent.com/2260/bankrupt-in-the-richest-nation-farmers-rampage-in-plymouth-county ;
You can find the Russian's madcap predictions at