I’ve spent many hours in Ault Park. Most of the time it is very quiet. I imagine that was not the case yesterday.
Ault Park is a nice place to take a walk and a good place to spend the afternoon while skipping school.
Yesterday would have been a great day to skip school in Ault Park. For one thing, you would see Barack Obama. For another thing, the police would have been distracted from cruising by and asking why you are not at school.
Described in the book is Franklin Roosevelt’s response in the first weeks of his administration to problem of farm foreclosures. I’m less interested on the specifics of the program—I know little of farms or banking—than I am in the fact that the actions detailed here took place at all. These are things that took place within the first weeks and months of the Roosevelt administration in 1933.
( Above is a picture of a dust storm in the Depression-era Dust Bowl farm crisis. The farm is in Stratford, Texas. The photo is from 1935. Here is some history of the Dust Bowl and of farming in the 1930’s)
From The Coming of the New Deal—
“The mortgage question was causing more immediate unrest than anything else;, and the administration had already moves with vigor to relive the situation. At the end of March, Roosevelt reorganized the hodgepodge of federal agricultural credit instrumentalities into a single new agency, the Farm Credit Administration….It’s powers confirmed by the Emergency Farm Mortgage Act and supplanted in June by the Farm Credit Act, FCA refinanced farm mortgages, developed techniques for persuading creditors to make reasonable settlements, set up local farm debt adjustment committee, and eventually established a system of regional banks to make mortgage, production, and marketing loans and to provide credits to cooperatives. It loaned more than $100 million in its first seven months–nearly four times as much as the total of mortgage loans to farmers from the entire land-bank system the year before. At the same time, it beat down the interest rate in all areas of farm credit…Though anger still rumbled in the farm belt, FCA gave every evidence of getting at least the emergency debt problem out of the way.”
The response to the problem of farm foreclosures reported In New Deal are such a contrast to the go it alone ethic of recent years. It reminds us that government has a role to play in our economy and in our society.
In the days ahead, as we recover from the current financial crisis, let’s recall that government action has served us well before and is needed again to take us back to prosperity.
Hopefully, larger Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, and a new Democratic President, will lead the way. Hopefully, our newly elected political leadership will have the courage and imagination to try new ideas and ask the American people to see that we are all connected in this life.
President Roosevelt’s first Secretary of Agriculture, and future Vice President, Henry Wallace, was an interesting figure. American Dreamer–The Life And Times Of Henry A. Wallace by former Iowa Senator John Culver and John Hyde is a good book on Wallace and Depression era agricultural programs.
( Below is an Iowa farm foreclosure sale from the 1930’s)
This morning I attended the Yom Kippur service at Houston Hillel. Houston Hillel serves Jewish college students throughout the Houston area. The Rabbi is Kenny Weiss.
I am not Jewish. My wife is Jewish.
Yom Kippur is the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement. It is seen as the most important day on the Jewish calender. Jewish folks, such as the wife, fast on Yom Kippur. I had clam chowder for lunch.
When I arrived at the service I was handed a book. As regular visitors to this blog know, I love to read. The book was called a machzor. This is a special prayer book for high Jewish holidays.
At one point were were told to stand and to read silently a 26 page section of the book. That’s my kind of service.
There was plenty of singing at the service. A young woman cantor sang prayers from the machzor in Hebrew. I was not always able to follow where in the book she was singing from, but I did feel I was getting the drift.
The room the service was conducted in had a big window and was full of light.
There were both many college students and elderly folks at the service. This mix was good as it spoke to the future and to the importance of the past. It spoke of the ability of the Jewish faith to draw new people and remain relevant for entire lifetimes.
The text of the machzor asked me to confess of the misdeeds I have committed in the past year and to learn from these errors for the year ahead. I am a misdeed a day type of person so I found the words to be relevant.
Nobody asked me if I were Jewish or not. Nobody seemed annoyed by the small baby in the room who made a little noise at times. The Rabbi was both welcoming and clear that the service had meaning.
Good luck to my wife and to all Jewish folks in the year ahead. Good luck to all.