Letter to the Editor

Liberal and proud

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dear Editor,

I read a lot of papers from around the state, particularly the political and editorial sections.

I am a Liberal Democrat and that effects my interpretation of what I read, but that's my right.

I have noticed lately many letters to the editors around the state that repeat the same basic talking points. They usually go on and on about how Liberals will be the downfall of our nation, and how Liberals will hand our country over to our enemies, and how Liberals will force everyone to have an abortion, burn a flag, and marry a homosexual. Etc., etc., etc.

I recently read an essay by a fellow named Harry Dahlstrom. Harry is 85 years old, lived through the Great Depression, and served as a Captain in the U.S. Army during World War II.

He is an icon of our community in Holdrege, having been awarded recently by our Chamber of Commerce for his years of altruistic civic spirit and volunteerism.

I would like to share what he has written because I feel it is very important that younger people be reminded that Liberalism is not, as yet, illegal in this country -- and that there are many things they take for granted that have been bestowed upon them by the generosity of Liberals.

With that, here are Mr. Dahlstrom's words:

I am a Democrat and a Liberal, and am very proud of that.

Having grown up in the 1930s, during the Great Depression, when virtually everyone was quite destitute -- because we had no safety net -- thousands of people lost their money in one of the 5,000 banks that went broke, and thousands lost their jobs because their companies went broke.

It was the Liberal administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt which brought many of the benefits we accept today without question, and which we wouldn't want to do without.

Examples of this are: the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which was fought by conservative bankers; the REA, which brought all rural people electricity (championed by our own Senator George W. Norris, of McCook, who has been called "the Fighting Liberal" -- he was a Republican and later, an Independent); Social Security; Unemployment Compensation; the Federal Housing Authority, which enabled people to obtain loans at low interest rates to build new homes; the Federal Land Bank, which lent money to farmers at low interest rates to help them buy or keep their land; the Agricultural Adjustment Program, the farm program which enabled the farmer to borrow money against the grain they produced (it gave them 55 cents per bushel compared with the market value of 10 cents or 15 cents), the Public Works Administration, which brought Holdrege our Municipal Building and our swimming pool (prior to that time the only swimming pool Holdrege had was on north Grant Street, and was privately owned by the Engstrom family); and through the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps, which gave people jobs so they could work and have at least some semblance of self-respect.

Many of these programs were opposed by the business community.

I served in the military for five years during World War II, and consider myself as patriotic as anybody. Liberals are often accused falsely, and with some people, the word Liberal is a bad word.

One of the differences between Liberals and people who call themselves Conservatives, is not that one loves our country more, but they differ in the solution.

In my judgment, we will never solve social problems by military might.

So you can call me a Liberal all you want to. I wear the designation proudly.

Harry Dahlstrom


Submitted by:

Brian Osborn


Phelps Co. Democrats

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