20th Century, History, Intercession, justice, law, Minnesota, State Government

Youngdahl Becomes Governor

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Photo credit:”Governor Luther Youngdahl”. St. Paul Dispatch. January 1949.

Jan 8, 1947 to Sep 27, 1951
Luther W. Youngdahl takes office as the state’s 27th governor.*

Luther W. Youngdahl, first known for his integrity as a judge, ran to become Minnesota’s governor in an era where inner moral challenges became greater than the external ones. His critics labelled him the “Sunday school governor” for his clear-cut stance against gambling, vice, and moral decline. ** He couldn’t change the hearts of some Minnesotans, but sought to work on enforcing and expanding the laws that protected innocence and virtue.

In the first place, he negated the effects of harmful laws. One year after the legalization of bingo, he was elected governor of Minnesota. During his campaign, Governor Youngdahl had pledged to rid the state of slot machines and, upon taking office, he began to make good on his promise. The number of taxed slot machines dropped from 8,579 in 1946 to 797 in 1950 to two in 1952. ***

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Additionally, he created laws of good conscience. Youngdahl advocated for the most vulnerable Minnesotans, and sought ways to relieve the burden of our society on their loved ones. During his first year in office, the American Association on Mental Deficiency (AAMD) held its annual convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Their concerns were around parental advocacy and the needs and rights of developmentally disabled (retarded) citizens. ****

Just two years later, under the leadership of President Mildred Thompson, the group met in Minneapolis with the objective of creating a national organization. It was her opinion that a cohesive national presence would be the best way to help struggling parents. By 1950, we find Governor Youngdahl a vigorous supporter of their dreams. Please read the following speech carefully, and realize the heart of Youngdahl towards our most vulnerable citizens.

“The point is this, ladies and gentlemen, the retarded child is a human being … And for reasons for which neither he nor his family are responsible, he is retarded. He has the same rights that children everywhere have. He has the same right to happiness, the same right to play, the right to companionship, the right to be respected, the right to develop to the fullest extent within his capacities, and the right to love and affection…
We cannot discriminate against this child, deny to this child the rights other children have because of the one thing that neither he nor his family can help, because he is retarded …
He has a right to these things and his parents have a right to know that he has these rights. For they, too, are entitled to peace of mind about what is happening to a retarded child separated from them.” *****

As can be seen throughout his career, L.W. Youngdahl expressed a clear conscience informed by a great respect for our laws. Even his detractors gave obeisance to his character and wise judgments; he broke up rackets and built institutions for those who were rejected by our community.****** He went on to serve three terms as governor of Minnesota before being called by President Truman to serve as a Federal judge for the District of Columbia.*******

Now we turn in recognition to You as Lawgiver and Judge; Nomothetēs kai Kritēs! ******* We respond to You with the scripture cited by President Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address.“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” Psalms 19:9 KJV We also recognize that the meaning of the word “fear” used here means reverent respect. We agree with the Psalmist that we feel “clean” inside when we practice honoring Your wisdom and living with a clear conscience!

Father of Good Sense, we ask forgiveness for the excesses and spiritual deficits of this era. We were just past the time of surviving the Depression and WWII, and then some of us turned aside to follow the gods of gambling. We looked past You for our sustenance and joy in this era past, and latched onto the rush of a “one-armed bandit”. Will You forgive us this offense of Your ability to provide us with enough? We have thought Your arms are also to short to save us from purposeless existence, boredom, and koinonia. Forgive this dishonor to Your riveting personality, humor, and ever-flowing vitality; You are the life of the party!

Balanced One, we recognize also our failure to protect and recognize those who most need it. We have failed, at times, developmentally disabled citizens of Minnesota, nor properly honored them as citizens of Your country. Furthermore, we have ostracized those who battle with: mental illness, mental disorders, depression, derangement, neurosis, neurotic disorders, nervous breakdowns, schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, and dementia. Will You forgive us where we have devalued these neighbors whom You have honored with life and worthiness? Will you bring Your Healing Presence into our broken minds, our disrupted physiologies, and our traumas of spirit?

We acknowledge the shortcomings of Governor Youngdahl to You; in his humanity he is no better or worse than us. However, this day we commend a few of his victories for our state to You. He shielded many innocents from beginning a life of gaming by curtailing the use of slot machines. He added momentum to the AADM, and encouraged the parents and individuals with developmental disorders. He made a place for those displaced by our society because of mental illness. Will You give favor to those who continue his heritage of leadership on these issues?

It’s fitting that Youngdahl was a judge both before and after his political career. He made a lifelong habit of life-giving judgements, and made the way better for those whom society condemned. May we forever take the baton of wisdom passed down through examples like his, and run our leg of the race! May we run until Your mercy overcomes our injustice!

“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” Romans 14:13 NIV *********

* 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!
** http://collections.mnhs.org/governors/index.php/10004221
*** Vitt, Michael J. (1993). “Wagering the Future: Gambling and the Law in Minnesota”. The Bench & Bar of Minnesota. May/June. Pg.6 cited in
http://www.northstarproblemgambling.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Gambling-in-Minnesota-2011.pdf
**** https://mn.gov/mnddc/parallels/five/5a/3.html
***** Listen to a sound file of Governor Youngdahl making this groundbreaking speech. https://mn.gov/mnddc/parallels/five/5a/3.html
****** http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/lwyoungd.htm
******* https://ballotpedia.org/Luther_Youngdahl
******** https://namesforgod.net/lawgiver-and-judge/
********* https://biblehub.com/romans/14-13.htm

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

Johnson Becomes Governor

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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

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