Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Facing the mob

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.

You can find the Russian's madcap predictions at


trentvb said...

Well comrade, it looks like we may need to learn to speak Canadian eh?

RickNiekLikeBikes said...

In the effort to quell anyone's version of class-warfare must the baby run out with the bath water? One bad apple doesn't really spoil the whole pot--I've eaten good things from the pot. Or, If farmers run a bad business, or can't run the business they set out to run, do they need not run a business? One can keep them in business, however they'll be in debt past their eyeballs--at least we've let them run a business. Which is just? We've known for awhile that throwing free money into bad investments is no way to create more money or significant value--the millions pouring into some schools reveals the point.

Instead, Mr. Average Joe needs to work, build up an emergency fund, put some away and pay cash for things. AJ will retire on something, and someone will always have an opportunity to be generous with him--many will take that opportunity. Class warfare is one thing, achievement another. Do only the under-classed lack achievement? Do only the under-classed understand generosity? I know a good bundle of wealthy and generous men, and others who employ the middle-class hard-working at a fair wage.

If you want to make all things a straight line, take the average of all the grades in your class and give every student the same grade--let's say 82 is the average between all the high's and lows. That seems right. The best students won't agree, but fair's fair. We do want everyone to graduate--to make something of themselves. Or, maybe the one who shouldn't be in the class at all should get the 100 while the over-achievers should get the lowest grades--at least the one who lacks has a fightin' chance. Justice, corriect?

Senator Dodd knows the names of the legion at AIG. A few others do too. Let's ask them shall we?

LisaZ said...

I too have felt the anger. And become enamored a bit of another Russian turned American, at the blog Club Orlov.

AIG is bad, but it's distracting the public from Goldman Sachs and our former Treasury Sec. Paulson, who've made away with lots and lots of money after threatening martial law, etc. last fall. We should all be looking into where they're up to now, but somehow no one is...