Burton Hanson for Congress
GOP Primary - MN 3rd District
Strength and Prosperity Through Peace

My Political Heroes

(Candidate's Note: In including people on my partial list of personal political heroes, I of course do not intend to suggest that any of those who are still alive are supporters in any way -- or, for that matter, even aware -- of my candidacy. See, also, my statement on Contributions and Endorsements.)

1. My ancestors who, in the second half of the 19th Century, migrated from Norway to America and, once in America, to Wisconsin and Iowa and then to Minnesota, Minnesota being the "Glorious New Scandinavia" of their dreams. During the election in 2002, I wrote the following piece on Norwegians in Minnesota Politics:
Norwegians in Minnesota politics. "Between 1820 and 1920 over 730,000 people emigrated from Norway to the United States." More Most of them made their way to Minnesota where, surprisingly, most of them are still living, albeit in a state of suspended animation. Every two years the political parties do their best to jolt them back to consciousness briefly, long enough to vote, by brewing egg coffee within whiffing distance of their snoring nostrils and by shouting 'Free donuts if you vote DFL' or 'Lower taxes [on your nonexistent income] if you vote GOP' through the thickets of hair in their ears. This year is no exception. Vice-President Walter Mondale, candidate for the U.S. Senate, has roots in Fjærland, in the Sognefjord area of Norway from which many of my Norsk ancestors came. Tim Penny, Independent Jesse Ventura's pick as his replacement, looks like he is (and may well be) one of my Viking cousins. Roger Moe, the DFL candidate for governor, may be the most stereotypically Norwegian of this year's crop. Does it help being Norwegian? It depends on what you mean by Norwegian. We Norwegians may be a long-faced lot but, Thor bless us, we are always open to something or someone new and/or different if it or he or she is not too new and/or different. We elected a conservative Republican Jewish plywood salesman named Boschwitz to the U.S. Senate, partly because he was smart enough to learn to speak Minnesotan (i.e., Norwegian-American English). We elected Paul Wellstone, a Jewish left-leaning organizer from North Carolina who was, of all things, a 'perfessor' at that silk-stocking school, Carleton, to the U.S. Senate because, well, he reminded us of Hubert H. Humphrey, the one who now resides in Valhalla. We elected Alan Page, a black man from Ohio who gained fame as a football player, to the state supreme court partly because, like Paul Wellstone, he chose us by staying here and becoming one of us. Without abandoning his racial/ethnic heritage, he was low-key and thoughtful enough that somehow he became part Norwegian. He has also become, to the surprise of some but not me, the best judge on our state supreme court. We Norskies are so open to something or someone new or different that time and again we've -- gasp! -- elected or appointed Swedes named Anderson to high office. For example, there are now two Andersons on the state supreme court and yet another one came close to getting himself appointed last summer. Why so many Swede Andersons in our judicial system? Why Affirmative Action for Andersons? Because a) they need all the help they can get, b) putting them on the court keeps them quiet and out of mischief, and c) we Norwegians remember when the violent Swedes ruled Norway with iron fists clenching some frozen lutefisk in their grasp. It is no accident that the Swedish college in Minnesota is named after a warrior king, Gustavus Adolphus, whereas the top two Norwegian schools are named after a confession (Augsburg) and a saint (Saint Olaf). 'Does it help being Norwegian,' you asked. Yes, but.... Yes, Minnesota is all about Norwegian ethnic politics -- but everyone in Minnesota is or ultimately converts to Norwegianism. Thus, it is no puzzling paradox to us that the only well-known Scandinavian restaurant in the Twin Cities is the culinary brain child of a black man who also is Scandinavian or that all the other ethnic restaurants, including the Chinese ones, in Minnesota in fact serve what amounts to Norwegian versions of their own ethnic food. (11.01.2002)

2. Hans R. Hanson. My father's father's father, Hans Rasmus Hanson, was the first of my direct ancestors to participate in a prominent way in mainstream American politics. He was born in Hafslo in Sogn of Fjorde, Norway in 1855 and came to America with his family in 1865, eventually settling with them in Six Mile Grove township, six miles north and west of Benson in 1871. He was one of those immigrants with innate political and entrepreneurial abilities that perhaps never would have seen the light of day in Norway. Energized by the freedom and opportunities of America, he quickly learned English and became a bridge between the Norwegian community populating the farms near Benson and the English merchants and political leaders in Benson. In 1892 the Republican County Convention endorsed him as the Republican candidate for county commissioner from the district including Benson, and Benson, Six Mile Grove and Torning townships. He lost that election but won the endorsement and the election in 1900. He served 16 years on the board, 12 of them as chairman, before losing in 1916 to a man named Gilbert Olson, a man both my grandparents, Otto Herfindahl and Robert Hanson, later took delight in beating in the 1932 primary, before squaring off against each other in a friendly general election contest that Otto Herfindahl won.

3.  Ragnhilda Harvey (Horvei). My great-great-grandmother, Ragnhilda Harvey (after Horveid farm) Herfindahl, mother of my mother's father, Otto Herfindahl, was born in Evanger in Voss in west-central Norway in 1854. Ragnhilda's parents and their family sailed to America in 1857 and settled in Spring Prairie settlement in Columbia County, Wisconsin. A brother of Ragnhilda, Ole J. Harvey, Jr., wanting to become a lawyer, "wrote" for Judge Philip Spooner, Sr., father of U.S. Senator John C. Spooner, Republican of Wisconsin. (Another immigrant from Evanger, Knute Nelson, who later became U.S. Senator from Minnesota and colleague of Senator Spooner, also "wrote" for Judge Spooner.) Ragnhilda's brother wisely gave up the practice of law and became a prosperous farmer and prominent Republican in Columbia County. Ragnhilda was only 16 years old when she married her husband, Ole Herfindahl. The following year, 1871, they moved to Swift County and homesteaded a farm north of Benson, where I was born. Ragnhilda died at age 88 in August of 1942, at her farm. Ragnhilda is a political hero of mine because, like the best of immigrant parents, she didn't limit her children's sights to the Norwegian immigrant subculture but raised them to succeed in the larger American English-speaking culture. Two of Ragnhilda and Ole's sons, Otto and Lewis, were politically active (see, infra). One of her grandchildren, Orris Herfindahl, my mother's cousin, became a world-renowned economist (click here and scroll down).

4. Otto Herfindahl. My grandfather, Otto Herfindahl, was a farmer with only an eighth-grade rural school education. His mother, Ragnhilda, told him he was such a good worker he should stay home and farm, eventually taking over the farm; his other brothers completed high school in Benson. Otto was a candidate for county commissioner in Swift County eight times. He lost four times, in 1928, 1936, 1948 and 1956, and won four times, in 1932, 1940, 1944, and 1952. In one of those elections, 1932, his opponent was my other grandfather, Robert G. Hanson, my father's father. The seat Otto occupied was the same seat my father's father's father, my great-grandfather, Hans Rasmus Hanson, occupied (see, supra). I remember riding in the backseat of my mother's Buick in 1952 as she drove Otto from house to house, where he knocked on the door, shook hands and dropped off one of his baseball-card-sized campaign cards. He was, at least in that election, a reluctant campaigner. Family legend, presumably true, has it that in the depth of the Depression an implement salesman came to the farm and offered him a kickback in exchange for his vote to award a county contract to him, and that Otto "threw him off the farm." He could have used the money offered him: one year during the Depression my mother, then a one-room-rural-school teacher earning a pittance, gave him money so he could buy seed to plant a crop.
5. Lewis Herfindahl. Ragnhilda had several sons in addition to Otto. One, Henry, became a "music man" in Mason City, Iowa. One was Lewis Herfindahl, one of the "founding fathers" of the Farmer-Labor Party. In 1924 Lewis filed as a Non-Partisan League candidate to represent Swift County in the legislature and also was a member of the Swift County delegation to the fledgling Farmer-Labor Party state convention. The Non-Partisan League was absorbed that year by, and became a wing of, the Farmer-Labor Party. Lewis was elected to six two-year terms and eventually became chair of the House's liberal group and a close personal and political ally of fellow Farmer-Laborite Floyd B. Olson, who was first elected Governor in 1930. Lewis did not run for re-election in 1936 but instead managed the state Farmer-Labor campaign. Later he was chair of the state central committee of the party and served on the staff of Governor Elmer Benson, also from Swift County, who succeeded Olson after Olson's untimely death from cancer. When you pay your state income tax, you are paying a tax for which Lewis was partly responsible, since he served as vice-chair of a 15-member committee in 1930 that campaigned for the adoption of the state income tax. He also played a significant role in the development of our state highway system.
6. Rev. (Congressman) O.J. Kvale. Rather than attend the nearby Lake Hazel Lutheran Church, Ragnhilda and Ole Herfindahl became charter members of Our Savior's Lutheran Church (now Our Redeemer's) in Benson, which belonged to the Norsk Synod. Eventually to this church there came a brilliant pastor, Ole Jule Kvale. In 1920 Kvale ran for Congress against incumbent Rep. Andrew Volstead, author of the notorious Volstead Act, which established Prohibition. Kvale was such a skilled orator that 12,000 people assembled in Willmar that September to hear him speak. Unsuccessful the first time, he ran again in 1922. Endorsed by both the Democrats and the Farmer-Laborites, he succeeded this time, "winning big." While in Congress he became friends with Fiorello LaGuardia ("The Little Flower"), a fellow progressive who later was elected Mayor of New York City. When LaGuardia married his secretary/aide, Kvale performed the ceremony. Kvale also was an ally in Congress with Wisconsin's Senator Robert ("Fightin' Bob") LaFollette. One of Kvale's sons was a childhood friend of my dad's, living in a house just across the alley from Dad's father's house. Another son, Al, was a hugely popular clarinetist, saxophonist, and popular singer, as well as composer, with a Chicago band and married a "showgirl" with the Ziegfield Follies. Yet another son, Paul John, was a reporter with the Minneapolis Tribune and succeeded him when he perished in a fire in his summer cabin on Lake Ottertail.
7. Robert Gornelius Hanson. As I said earlier, "Grandpa Bob" Hanson, my father's father, lost to my other grandfather, Otto  Herfindahl, in a friendly contest for county commissioner in 1932, "friendly" because my father and mother, who eventually married in 1936, were dating. Bob (third from left in photo of city council) was a sometime delegate to the state Republican convention, was elected to four terms on the city council in Benson and was twice an unsuccessful candidate for mayor. His first cousin, Alfred I. Johnson, active in the DFL party, was state representative from Swift County a number of years, eventually serving as Speaker of the House; he also was an unsuccessful DFL candidate for Congress against the long-time incumbent Republican congressman, H. Carl Anderson. Alfred's son (with his wonderful wife, Adeline), James A. Johnson, my second-cousin-once-removed, was a high school classmate of mine, managed Vice President Mondale's Presidential campaign, was CEO of Fannie Mae, is Head of the Kennedy Center and The Brookings Institution, and managed the Vice Presidential selection process for Senator Kerry.
8. Beatrice Herfindahl Hanson.  I've always believed my mother, a superb school-teacher by trade, could have been governor. She had everything going for her except one thing: she was a woman. At various times she was state president of a number of charitable organizations, including the women's hospital auxiliary and the cancer society. She tried for elective office only once, running unsuccessfully for county superintendent of schools in 1934 at the age of 21. In 1952 she was chairwoman in the old seventh district of Citizens for Eisenhower, helping mobilize the unprecedented write-in vote for General Eisenhower in the Minnesota Republican presidential primary. Write-in campaigns are difficult. They sometimes succeed at the local level. In Minnesota the campaign "succeeded" on the state level: "Ike," still in the military and therefore not yet declared as a candidate, received a phenomenal 108,000 write-in votes, second behind the 129,000 received by the listed candidate, Harold Stassen. I know all about that write-in campaign because I witnessed it first-hand as an 8-year-old boy: my mother was one of the prime grass-roots organizers of it (and is pictured, along with my father and a  number of other organizers, in the March 31, 1952 issue of Life magazine, the one with the cover story titled "Liíl Abner & Daisy Mae Get Married"). Harold Stassen, a great American who never was afraid to stand alone and was often ridiculed for doing so, later said, "If it wasn't for the Minnesota primary in '52, Eisenhower never would have been president." Click here.
9. Dwight D. ("Ike") Eisenhower. Although I was only 8 years old when my mother first began working on the Eisenhower campaign, I can still remember it as if it happened yesterday. Image: riding west toward Benson in the car with my mother on old Highway 12, halfway between downtown Minneapolis and Wayzata, listening to the GOP convention on the car radio and hearing the casting of the Minnesota votes that put Ike over the top. Image: standing in the lobby of the Koehler Hotel in Rochester the day Ike and Adlai Stevenson were both in town to attend a farm event titled Ploughville, Minnesota. My mother had been invited to attend a luncheon there. The image that sticks with me is of Ike & Mamie walking down the big staircase to the lobby and of Ike tossling my hair as he walked past. Image: watching Nixon's "Checkers Speech" on a small black and white TV with my family in a motor lodge in Jackman, Maine. Ike promised he would "go to Korea." He did so and as President he quickly brought about the truce that led to the return of the American prisoners of war. I remember lying on the living room floor at home reading the long lists of returning POWs in the old Minneapolis Star. Ike was the last President until Bill Clinton took office to balance the budget. He not only brought us peace but prosperity. "I Like Ike" was the slogan in 1952. I still like Ike.
10. Governor Nelson Rockefeller. In my youth I was what was known as an "Eisenhower Republican," later a "Rockefeller Republican" -- that is, a liberal Republican. I still am, which, considering how far right the party has gone, puts me pretty much in the American political center. On the right is a picture of me shaking Rocky's hand when he was in Minneapolis in the fall of 1960 during a campaign appearance for Dick Nixon. I was proudest of him when he said to the Goldwaterites when they tried to shout him down at the 1964 GOP convention, "It's still a free country, ladies and gentleman." But I lost respect for him when as Governor of New York he demagogically supported mandatory minimum terms for drug offenders and when he ordered the crude and ultimately bloody invasion to retake Attica prison during a prisoners' uprising.
11. Senator Eugene J. McCarthy. When I was in high school, I worked after school and on weekends as a dee jay and announcer at the local radio station, "KBMO-AM, 1290 on your dial." On Sundays the station tried to fit in a number of public service programs. One was Senator Eugene McCarthy's report from Washington, which arrived on reel-to-reel tapes. His reports seemingly were delivered extemporaneously in a recording studio provided by the Senate. To my high school junior's ears, the reports seemed scholarly -- and boring. I'm not sure McCarthy could have gotten elected to the Senate without Hubert H. Humphrey's help. But it is a tribute to the Minnesotans of that era that they elected him. One might not want a Senate full of Eugene McCarthy-types, as if he was a "type," but the Senate was a better place with him there. I first caught McCarthy fever when I heard this seemingly dull speaker electrify the 1960 Democratic Convention with his nomination of Adlai Stevenson. Several years later, when I was at Harvard Law School I wrote to him urging him to take a stand against the Viet Nam War. I still have the letter I received in response, stating that he believed the Senate was starting to assert itself on the issue. In the fall of 1966 he gave a series of lectures on politics and religion at Memorial Church in Harvard Yard. Then, in 1967 I heard rumors that he was considering challenging President Johnson in the primaries as an anti-war candidate. The rumors proved to be true, and my-then fiancee (and now ex-wife) and I attended a rally on Brattle Street just off Harvard Square that I have always claimed, true or not, was the first such rally of his campaign. Although I identified with the Republican party, I had cast my first vote, in 1964, for Johnson because a) I believed he was more likely than Barry Goldwater to end the war a/s/a/p, particularly given Goldwater's use of inflammatory language in his nomination acceptance speech, and b) I didn't like the Goldwaterites' rude reception of Nelson Rockefeller during his speech at the Republican Convention. But Johnson was a disappointment. Notwithstanding Johnson's failure to extricate us from the morass in Viet Nam, others in the Democratic party, including Bobby Kennedy, refused to challenge Johnson in the primaries. Only McCarthy had the courage to do so, and it was only after his astonishing success in the early primaries that Bobby Kennedy, sensing an opportunity, suddenly got the courage when it no longer took courage to run. As McCarthy himself said, people don't always treat the messenger bringing bad news well. In many ways, the party didn't treat him well. But the good don't always die young. At 88 he is still with us -- and, guess what, he opposed the invasion of Iraq, as I did, before it became popular to do so.
12. Justice C. Donald Peterson. Justice Peterson hired me as his law clerk without having interviewed me. He did so on the basis of my resume and a favorable report from the two justices who interviewed me and a district court judge for whom I had worked. I knew nothing of him, not even that he had been a legislator and an unsuccessful Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor against A.M. ("Sandy") Keith before running and being elected to the nonpartisan position of associate justice. Some of us have the wits and/or the luck to find the mentors we need. Justice Peterson and I hit it off from the start. He liked my work enough to offer me the opportunity to clerk for him a second year, which was atypical. And then he recommended me to his colleagues for a permanent position when the court decided in 1972 to hire two "commissioners" to assist them in disposing of the less-meritorious of the increasingly-high volume of appeals. Justice Peterson taught more by example than by precept, not just lessons about law but also about life. For all the nearly two decades I knew him and worked with him, he was quietly battling non-Hodgkins lymphoma -- no, not so much battling it but transcending it. We always miss our fathers when they leave us, but the best ones, including mine, stay with us forever. Justice Peterson was one of the fathers of my spirit, and although it's now many years since he died, he, too, is still with me. He is one of the voices over my shoulder, a voice I always listen to even if I'm not inclined to follow the advice given -- because he always listened to my advice even if he was not always inclined  to follow it. Although I was his junior, in years and status and wisdom, he once autographed a portrait of him that I requested, "To Burt Hanson, my friend and colleague." Others prate about friendship and colleageality; he practiced them.
13. Lawrence R. Yetka, prominent DFL legislator from Cloquet and later an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, about whom I wrote a justifiably laudatory essay that was published in 1998 in a volume prepared on his career by the State Law Librarian, Marvin Anderson. More later on why Justice Yetka is one of my political heroes.
14. A. M. ("Sandy") Keith. I first became acquainted with the name of Sandy Keith in, I believe, 1966 when, as Lieutenant Governor, he boldly challenged fellow DFLer, incumbent Governor Karl Rolvaag, in the DFL primary and lost. Frankly, my initial reaction to him, perhaps influenced by the unfair portrayal of him by some members of the media, was that he was a JFK-wannabe. Later, in the early years of my 28+ years as a law clerk (two years) and Deputy Commissioner (26+ years) for the Minnesota Supreme Court, I had occasion to read the transcript and help the court review a homicide conviction out of Rochester in which Sandy had represented the defendant, a young black man. Although I believed the conviction should be affirmed, I was impressed by Sandy's extraordinary representation of the defendant and said so both in a memorandum on the case and in casual conversation with Justice Peterson. Peterson told me (and I'm revealing no secrets) he had been defeated by Sandy Keith in the general election for Lieutenant Governor but that he greatly respected him as a result of a series of friendly, civil, high-level public debates they had engaged in during the campaign. Later, it was my personal good fortune when Governor Perpich appointed Sandy to the court, first as associate justice, then as chief justice, succeeding in the second instance Chief Justice Peter S. Popovich, another great Minnesotan, about whom I also wrote an essay in the state law library's Minnesota Justice Series. Our relationship started off on a good foot when I gave him a copy of the memo I'd written years earlier. Our good relationship has continued to this day. Minnesota was lucky to have such a fine person as its chief justice, and I am lucky to be one of his friends.
15. Charles Lindbergh. Which one? Both -- father and son. Of father, click here for a recent entry of mine dealing with his heroism as a Minnesota politician. Of son, here's an entry I posted on my law blog, WWW.LawAndEverythingElse.Com, on the 75th anniversary of his famous solo flight to Paris:
7:52 a.m., EDT, May 20, 1927 - the "Lone Eagle" takes off. Although Charles A. Lindbergh has always been a hero of mine, I'd never read his fascinating book, The Spirit of St. Louis (1953), until late last month, after I picked up a copy for a buck at Half-Price Books. Lindbergh -- who was the son of a prominent Minnespolis lawyer, who later served in Congress -- grew up on a farm on the banks of the Mississippi River near Little Falls. There are two statues of him in a tulip garden across the street from the Dept. of Transportation Bldg. just west and south of the Capitol in St. Paul, on Archbishop Ireland Blvd, which connects the Cathedral and the Capitol. One of the statues is of Lindbergh in his flying suit, the other of him as a boy, with his arms out like wings, pretending to fly in the same way my boyhood friends and I pretended to fly in the early '50's. Sunday, May 20th, is the 74th anniversary of his taking off from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, N.Y. Specifically, he took off, a relatively unknown aviator, at 7:52 a.m., EDT, May 20, 1927. Thirty-three hours and 30 minutes later, at 10:22 p.m., French time, May 21, he landed at Le Bourget Airport in Paris to a tumultuous reception and instantly became the first authentic world-renowned hero of the 20th Century. Here's a fine descriptive passage from the book, which prompted me to write in the margin: "Walden cabin flies to Paris": "My cockpit is small, and its walls are thin; but inside this cocoon I feel secure, despite the speculations of my mind. It makes an efficient, tidy home, one so easy to keep in order that its very simplicity creates a sense of satisfaction and relief. It's a personal home, too -- nobody has ever piloted the Spirit of St. Louis, but me. Flying in it is like living in a hermit's mountain cabin....I'm conscious of all elements of weather, immersed in them, dependent on them. Here, the earth spreads out beyond my window, its expanse and beauty offered at the cost of a glance...." I don't know if the book made any of the top 100 lists of best books of the 20th Century. It deserves to be on any list of recommended books of American history (as well as Minnesota history). BTW, the book was made into a movie, starring James Stewart as Lindbergh. Stewart, a pilot himself, flew a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis in the movie. I saw the movie when I was 11 years old. Haven't seen it since. Not sure if it's available on videotape.

16. Martin Luther. On 10.31, 1517 Martin Luther, one of my heroes, nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. [more] One of my favorite studies of Luther is Erik Erikson's Young Man Luther. That book, along with Erikson's Identity: Youth and Crisis, helped me better understand not only Luther but myself, my son and young men in general, particularly those who, like my son, are highly creative. Also worth reading are Ralph Waldo Emerson's writings on Luther, especially his 1835 lecture. George Will, the columnist, once wrote that Luther (right) was one of the "Founding Fathers" of the American Spirit. Will is right. Luther has always appealed to me because of his courageous American individualism. Specifically, I admire a) his willingness to stand alone, to be a protest-ant if need be, in a just cause ("Here I stand -- I cannot, I will not, recant"), and b) his belief that a man doesn't need a priest to act as an intermediary between God and him but can act as his own priest ("Every man a priest"). For a piece I wrote on 08.16.2004 that links the "indulgences" Luther protested to the "indulgences" granted to the big donors of cash to candidates in both parties, click here.
17. My father, Russell G. Hanson. My dad, although a life-long Republican, was no politician (he was elected once to the school board, then defeated), but he was politically knowledgeable and active, including on behalf of farm interests on the national level through leadership posts in that area in the Independent Bankers Association of America. The picture on the right is of Dad, second from left, meeting with, left to right, Senator McCarthy, Representatives Alec Olson and Ancher Nelson, and a fellow Independent Bankers Association officer. I have written about Dad in the section titled Fathers & Sons in my noncampaign weblog, WWW.LawAndEverythingElse.Com. Both my parents, although Republicans, were admirers of Senator McCarthy, especially of his 1968 campaign against the Vietnam War.
18. Some musings on political heroism (from an entry in my law weblog dated 11.25.2001):
Listening in.... Coincidentally, the two novels I just finished reading -- Saul Bellow's The Dean's December, followed by Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being -- are both set, in significant part, in Eastern Europe (in Romania and Czechoslovakia) during the Cold War, and both deal, in significant part, with the effect of intrusive government on the lives of ordinary men and women. I grew up in a small town on the eastern edge (the start of) the Great American Prairie. It was basically true that everyone knew what everyone else was doing. But most of the time the government wasn't involved in that aspect of small-town life. I say, "most of the time." Minnesota did go through a sort of reign of terror at the onset of our country's involvement in WWI, and my town did not escape from that. I touched upon that in an entry dated 09.15.2001 that I entitled It Can't Happen Here. Indeed, throughout the 1920's there was a split in my town between, on the one hand, the live-and-let-live folks and, on the other hand, those of a fundamentalist, censorious bent -- who wanted to regulate the lives of people in minutiae through laws that not only Tali-banned this-and-that, including the drinking of liquor, the attending of movies on Sunday, the attending of dances at any time, etc., but Tali-punished such conduct harshly. Curiously, two of the forces for ending the reign of the nay-sayers, both in local and Minnesota politics, were the Rev. O. J. Kvale, pastor of what later was my childhood church, and Lewis Herfindahl, one of the brothers of my mother's father, Otto Herfindahl. Kvale and Herfindahl were among the founders of the Farmer-Labor party, which grew out of the Progressive Movement. Kvale ran against and defeated Congressman Andrew Volstead, for whom the Prohibition Act (the "Volstead Act") was named; and Herfindahl became the county's Farmer-Labor representative in the state legislature and later political aide to two Farmer-Labor governors, Floyd B. Olson and Elmer Benson. Why do I mention this now? Because, frankly, I'm not a little bit worried about the convergence of a number of forces in American politics. These forces include: a) the greater tendency of patriotic people like you and me to defer uncritically to government in times of perceived crisis, b) the emergence of new technology for government eavesdropping on ordinary citizens (described in this article by Ted Bridis, from the 11.22.2001 issue of Washington Post), and c) the fact that our Attorney General, John Ashcroft, is a man whose mindset is of a fundamentalist, censorious bent. Thomas Jefferson said that the price of maintaining our liberty is eternal vigilance. He was speaking primarily of vigilance against ourselves, not outsiders -- vigilance against our own backward, baser, atavistic instincts. (11.25.2001)
Candidate's Note: In including people on my partial list of personal political heroes, I of course do not intend to suggests that any of those who are still alive are supporters in any way -- or, for that matter, even aware -- of my candidacy. See, also, my statement on Contributions and Endorsements.

Copyright (c) 2004 by Burton Randall Hanson. Prepared & published  by candidate on his own behalf and at his own expense. Candidate may be reached by e-mail at burtonhanson@burtonhanson.com. Candidate does not solicit or accept contributions or endorsements.