20th Century, Agriculture, History, Intercession, Minnesota, State Government

Nonpartisan League

herbert-gaston-nonpartisan-league

1918
The farmers’ Nonpartisan League, a reform group that advocates state control of the grain industry, runs candidates in the Republican primary. The NPL loses in the primary, but joins Minnesota’s branch of the Minnesota American Federation of Labor in forming the Farmer-Labor party.*

“In the 1910s, farmers began to decry poor market conditions and violations of their economic rights. Middlemen in the grain elevator, stockyard, cold storage, banking, and rail industries regularly gouged farmers. To fight corporate interests, the NPL was formed in North Dakota in 1915.
The NPL was founded by former Socialist Party member Arthur Townley, who was also a failed flax farmer. The NPL advocated state-run mills, grain elevators, stockyards, and warehouses. In order to protect farmers further, the NPL fought for state insurance programs, pensions, and employment bureaus. After success in North Dakota’s 1916 election, the NPL began to expand. Minnesota became the center of its activities.”**

red-flame-7.20-001-optimized

Lord, we say we love fairness, justice, and equal rights under the law, but our practice of these traits are very imperfect and human! Have mercy! Farmers of this era wanted to address the folly and failures of the Democrats and Republicans to represent their views and grievances. They wanted a way out of the “us versus them” paradigm in Saint Paul, and Washington! Lord, hear their prayers!

Will You forgive their root judgments based on politics? Will You forgive the Wall Street Republicans their willingness to commoditize a Democratic farming way of life, and to see all Progressives as revolutionary radicals instead of neighbors desperate for change? Will You forgive the Socialist and Progressives their judgments of the passivity of the Democrats, and characterizing all Republicans as greedy “Wall Streeters”? Will You forgive Democrats their judgments and fears of Socialist extremism, Progressive utopianism, and Republican heartlessness?

We have failed You as traders and transporters of commodities. Those who weighed the grain and set the prices for the train have dishonored You, and the farmers of Minnesota. Through Solomon, perhaps the greatest economic mind the earth has ever known, You have said: “The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.” Proverbs 11:1 NIV Will You have mercy on all forms of dishonest trading and transport of agricultural commodities? Will You restore our broken trust, and teach us better ways to raise, assess value, and distribute food?

Our Socialism, Progressivism, Democratism, and Republicanism has tested You as the owner of all the yields of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. We have ignored Your voice because we listen through the filter of all our ‘isms’. We have discounted each other in opinion and fact. Have mercy!

We listen and ponder this parable of Jesus:
“A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one they beat and treated shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. He sent a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.
Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘this is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” Luke 20:9-16 NIV

In its original context, this story was a rebuke of the misuse of authority of the chief priests, elders, and teachers of the law known as the Sanhedrin. The farmers of the vineyard symbolize the people of Israel. The servants represent the prophets of G-d whom the people rejected, the heir represented the Messiah, and the landowner is G-d the Father.

Yet, I see another interpretation of this text relevant to the NPL, the “isms”, and the economic forces of Wall Street. Perhaps each of these forces stumble over their self-importance: the farmer-laborer, the politicians, the bankers, and the traders? Is it possible that each sees themselves as the owner, therefore, possessing the final say over their property? Each has refused the reasonable messages of the servants and heirs sent to them?

Eternal Father, will You forgive us for attempting to own Your possessions? Will You forgive us the rejection of our opponent’s message and messengers? Will You forgive the misbelief in the revolutionary spirit of our heart that drives us to overthrow and possess? Will You forgive the independence of the NPL, the co-dependence of the Democratic and Republican parties and Wall Street?

We give You the false heart motives of this era, and ask that take them up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ. We ask that Your blood cleanses and frees us from every attachment of the Enemy that hinders the agriculture of Minnesota. We ask that You establish proper boundaries for all these groups both present and future. Will You be the Judge of Minnesota, so we can practice the blessing of being truly Nonpartisan?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**Excellent source of information on NPL and all history Minnesota! http://www.mnopedia.org/group/nonpartisan-league

Advertisements
Standard
20th Century, Faith, government, History, Intercession, Leadership, Minnesota, Politics, Prayer, Social Studies, State Government

Governor Hammond Dies in Office

Unknown

Dec 30, 1915
Governor Winfield S. Hammond dies only eight months after taking office, when he suffered ptomaine poisoning on a trip south and died of a stroke in a little bayou town in Louisiana.*

Governor Hammond was “a staunch Democrat in Republican community”, namely, the city of Mankato and Watonwan County. His ambitions politically were to minimize the bureaucracy of our state government, and eliminate waste. He achieved his political office with bipartisan support. **

What draws me to his story today is that he lived as a political minority in his hometown, yet achieved the highest post of leadership in the state. Politics, both in his era and the present, is more often a game of division than multiplication. The effects of partisanship, past and present, often turns friend against friend, spouse against spouse, and family against family.

What is Your wisdom for us in this, King of Kings? Each day, each moment, we are offered choice by You; will we make relationship, or break relationship? Daily You offer us this insight:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is One.” Deuteronomy 6:4***

On the personal level, we can have a thriving connection with someone who disagrees with us. We often are married to such a person, work daily with them, or live nearby. We know that person so well, and love them, so we choose to agree to disagree in select areas for the sake of relationship.

Yet when it comes to politics, and its seasons of heated rhetoric, we allow our disagreements over knowledge to supersede our relational “knowing”. Why is this? Why does information trump partnership?

Eternal Father, have mercy on this condition, both in Hammond’s era and the present. We have asserted our superior knowledge against our resolve to continue relating in the context of relationships. We have broken faith with each other over the letters “D” or “R”.
Will You have mercy on on us? Will You help us to “love our enemies”? Will You especially give us grace for our beloved enemies; members of our own household whom we cannot reach agreement?

We offer thanks for Governor Hammond, and his propensity to listen and unite with his opponents. Will You bless him, his progeny, and those who work and especially listen to those across the aisle? Will You fulfill his incomplete visions to create a responsive system of leadership in Minnesota? Will You overcome the acceptance of faction and partisanship as a necessity for the civic leadership of our society? Will You replace knowledge with knowing, and make us one people? Amen!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winfield_Scott_Hammond
***http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/6-4.htm

Standard
20th Century, Business, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Labor, Mining, Minnesota

Johnson Becomes Governor

Unknown

Jan 4, 1905
John A. Johnson takes office as the state’s 16th governor. Johnson became the first Minnesota-born governor, the first to serve a full term in the present state capitol, and the first to die in office. He also was the first Minnesota governor to bask, fleetingly, in the national spotlight when he sought the 1908 Democratic presidential nomination, but lost to William Jennings Bryan.*

G-d, it is so difficult to prayerfully write about politicians; there’s so much to know about these individuals, and mere facts do not often give one a grasp of their character and motivations. Will You guide me to information that tells the story You most want me to record? Will You give insight to my dullness today?

After a quick hunt on the internet, I found this excellent source at google e-books. It was published in 1910, so the information would be a recent memory of the authors. This is what they had to say,

“As an executive the most spectacular achievement of his career was his handling of the strike on the Minnesota iron range in the summer of 1907.”
“Led by Italian socialist Teofilo Petriella…”
“Needed only a spark to explode this magazine of hatred and fancied wrong…”
“Without guard or escort, he sought out the leaders of the strike…”
“The leaders of the other side were seen in the same personal manner.”
“And the peace was kept without the use of a single soldier or the firing of a single shot-at the cost to the state only of the Governor’s trip to the Range.”

Frank Day and Theodore Macfarlane,Life of John Albert Johnson, Three Times Governor of Minnesota., Forbes and Company, 1910. pp.161-163.
http://books.google.com/books?id=iVxAAAAAYAAJ&dq=john+albert+Johnson+taxation&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Lord, I want to acknowledge this memory to You. Thank you for the peacemaking abilities of Governor Johnson. Thank You for the power of listening intently he showed those in this disagreement. Thank You for the gifts of wisdom this Governor exercised to avert hostility.
However, absence of war alone does not mean peace. Those who followed Petriella to the precipice of revolt suggest that their grievances were deep and unresolved. Lord, will You forgive their bitterness towards their employers? Will You forgive their employers’ judgments towards them?
As a man who did physical labor for years, I may understand part of their pleas for relief. We are human beings, not machines, and sometimes we simply cannot work more without rest. It is very hard to hear criticism from a boss when you have worked yourself to the point of exhaustion day after day. Will You remember the cross of physical exhaustion these men bore? Will You hear their yearnings for their labor to be valued and respected by their bosses and society?
Conversely, hear the voices of their leaders, foremen, and employers! So few of us know the loneliness of being a leader, or of having extremely high pressure decisions on our plate day after day. Often these leaders have no one to confer with, or have insufficient time and data to make informed choices. They just have to “man up” and make the call.
Will You hear their longings for appreciation? Will You heal their feelings of beings hated and punished for creating jobs? Will You be with them in their lonely decisions?
It is easy to look back on this situation and see how these two groups, labor and employer, may have misbeliefs towards each other. Each group has real needs and wants and limitations that should be heard and considered. In light of that, I bless these two groups of Minnesotans that have, are, or will work on the Iron Range; the laborer and the employer. Jesus Christ, will You overcome all their obstacles to a symbiotic relationship? Will You provide mediators like Governor Johnson who can skillfully deal with any crisis? Will You give us Your imagination, and offer new and creative means to repair rifts long before they erupt?
Finally, forgive us, both then, now, and into perpetuity, of failing to see that judgements of our sister, brother, or boss are judgments of You. Who are we to judge Your laborers’ intents rather than actions? Didn’t You make them strong and skilled and able to withstand the elements? Who are we to judge Your employers? Didn’t You give them the ideas to create useful products, to manufacture those products, and sell those products to the world for a profit that enables the cycle to continue? Didn’t You make some who are born leaders? “Blessed are the peacemakers, for the will be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**Excellent summary of this strike by Jack Lynch of the Hibbing Daily Tribune. http://www.hibbingmn.com/news/years_of_yore/petreila-brains-of-strike/article_9a2d9290-ee82-5421-b481-92b4012fef38.html

Standard
19th Century, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Politics, State Government

Merriam Becomes Governor

unknown

Jan 9, 1889 to Jan 4, 1893
William R. Merriam becomes the state’s 11th governor on January 9, 1889.

As governor, Merriam was a thrifty executive who was more interested in limiting spending than in legislative reform. The most notable legacy of his administration was the adoption of the Australian ballot system, which allows citizens to vote in comparative privacy.**

Thank You for the work Merriam did for the state of Minnesota. Thank You for a governor that limited spending, made voting private, and also helped establish the census.Remember the good done by this man and bless his memory!
Jesus, our election season is upon us, but not past us. I dread the level of contempt and contention within the major parties! I dread that we are so stratified that we tolerate a party system, or still believe it necessary to our liberties. Read John Adams’ quote below:

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”**

I concur with President Adams, this a major root of bitterness that unnecessarily divides our society.
As your child, I acknowledge to You that we have judged our brothers’ and sisters’ political and leadership choices. We argue without the intent of sharpening and testing ideas. We banter and bash each other into compliance, but do not serve each other in submission. The strong win, and the weak lose or are simply silenced.

We have offended Your righteous order by choosing separation from our “naive”, “heartless”, “brainless”, “racist”, “sexist”, “classist”, “homophobic”, “Islamophobic”, neighbors. We want external peace when we have little or no internal peace. I ask that You choose to remember these words of judgment no more. Forgive our one word dismissals of our neighbors. Today I ask that we as a people will receive words from You to heal our personal relationships, and overflow to our state.
Most of the time, most of us would rather shout down our verbal opponent, shame him or her into compliance, than dare ask ‘Why’? Would it be so wrong to see it from an opponent’s view: “Why do you believe “X” will benefit our state? Please tell me about your views.” I ask You the “Why?” question Lord! Why are we so stubborn to cling to our own ideas, and fail to trust enough to allow them to be strengthened by scrutiny or testing?
We have hidden our hearts from each other Lord! We have held on to anger and fear and resentment. We have loved winning the argument through emotional manipulation! We have loved winning the argument through framing the meaning of facts or even words! Will You free us from this heritage of division that comes through the channel of political party and elections?
I thank You for the freedom of conscience that we inherit because Governor Merriam chose to introduce the Australian system of ballots cast in secret. We are protected, in the voting booth at least, from scorn and forces of external manipulation! We can anonymously reveal our inward thoughts! Again, bless this freedom, bless its Australian heritage, and the memory of Governor William R. Merriam!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Adams

***More on Governor Merriam? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Rush_Merriam

Standard