Curtis Dahlgren
A COLUMN FOR THE "AGES" (and some historical context)
By Curtis Dahlgren
July 23, 2011

"To my mind the power possessed and exercised by the bureaucrats in Washington represents the most dangerous situation in America . If the wrong man should come along and be elected president, we could see a dictatorship erected almost overnight." — Barry Morris Goldwater (1976)

"KAKISTOCRACY, n. 1) the government by the most incompetent"

My family has been fighting these people since the 90's — and I mean the 1890s. My father's father was born not too long after the Johnson Administration — I mean Andrew Johnson (he could have been a contemporary of Abraham if it hadn't been for that J. Wilkes Booth). Like Lincoln , grampa was from Illinois , but via Sweden.

His first job in the Promised Land was as a hired hand for a farm family named Taft. My father was born on Columbus Day 1900, and his dad took him to see a man named Roosevelt speak — and I do mean 'Teddy'!

Twenty years later my dad took my mother and brother to another campaign whistlestop in Rockford. The end of the train happened to stop right where they were standing, and a man named Hoover came out of the car. The first thing his eyes fell on was my brother, who was about seven months old. And the President of the United States held my brother John during his whole speech.

I guess my brother didn't cry, but 26 years later my dad took the family to hear a speech during the primary campaign of 1948. A man named Stassen came to our hometown. After the speech my parents shook his hand, and of course he spotted me. Although I was 5 years old, I was small for my age, and he picked my up like a baby (this guy was a signer of the UN charter, and I bawled like a baby).

Twenty-some years later my brother heard a man named Reagan address the Wisconsin GOP — while he was still governor of California! John also once met and chatted with a man named Ford while he was a Congressman from Grand Rapids.

In 1980 I got to see the Gipper speak in person too. My father and I gave $10 each for Reagan's primary campaign in Wisconsin , and for that we were invited to attend the 1981 inauguration, including the Inaugural Ball and the Gala the night before. Alas, we weren't rich Republicans and didn't even have a fairy godmother to get us to the Ball, so we had to pass.

I'm still sorry that I couldn't have figured out some way to at least get my father there. Here was my dad who worked so hard for about 80 of his 87 ½ years. He had seen Teddy Roosevelt — who has been on Mt. Rushmore for 70 years already! Grampa Dahlgren farmed 500 acres with horses and could have been a contemporary of the 16th President, and yet my dad could have attended the 40th President's Inaugural Ball.

You could say Otto Dahlgren was a Swedish "Viking," a polemicist who spent many hours debating the socialists who hung out in the Rockford saloons. My family has been fighting the hate-the-rich crowd for over 100 years so far.

My brother will be 80 in March and he attended a Tea Party in Washington DC . His eyes were awakened anew to the vast number of Independents, Reagan Democrats, and other lower-middle class conservatives (those of us who could just cry over the "state of the Union " these days).


What's with this "working families vs. millionaires" crap? Beltway "consultants" simply don't know the American people! We don't want neo-socialism, soft socialism, or hard socialism; it's all despotism! The "experts" should get out more.

"Working" families? I just told you the story of one. Dairy farm kids start working at around the point where they're old enough to walk.

I was the first one in the family to attend college. In 1960-61 an economics professor at the University of Wisconsin ( Madison ) urged me to stay at the University, but my goal in life wasn't making as much money as possible. I couldn't see spending four to six more years in a stuffy classroom when I could be free and get paid for climbing trees (my first summer job).

Ironically, a lot of the money I made in my career came from the pockets of those millionaires — and even billionaires (the Kimberlys, the S.C. Johnsons, the Oscar Mayers, etc, etc, etc). And some of the nicest people I've ever met were the "wealthy" ones.

I pruned trees for Adlai Stevenson's sister, and when Senator Stevenson died, a man named Johnson (LBJ) came to that house after the funeral. My brother and I cross people's paths like that guy in the movie, Forrest Gump.

My brother started a Young Republicans club in our home town. Of the first members, one was a future state legislator, and one was a young David Keene (of the ACU and now the NRA). We also knew the architect who designed the Vctims-of-Communism memorial in the capital of Estonia.

But this column isn't about "ME"; it's about my nephew and his family, my niece and her family, plus my neighbor's daughter who's having her high school graduation party this afternoon (my brother attended his 60th year high school class reunion last Sunday).

We — my brother and I — have had "a wonderful life." At our point in life, as someone said, we don't even buy green bananas anymore. But we do continue to look into the future, and we worry that America 's future may not be so wonderful.

P.S. Just one more thing: I'm writing a new resume in case the government shuts down. One thing I could say is that I worked on trees for two houses that were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. One of my clients gave me a high recommendation — and he had once sued Frank Lloyd Wright. When the Social Security checks stop coming, I think I'll put that at the top of my resume.

Seriously though, coming events cast their shadows before, and their shape is not pretty. The failures of socialism are legion.

It's time to stop the Kenyan Economics — I mean Keynesian!

And speaking of the "Wrights":

Not God
bless America ;

God have mercy on America !


We've had some warm weather, and judging by media reaction, this is the first time this ever happened. Actually this happens every year, especially in the summer time! The MSM is right about one thing though: through the wimpification of America, lots of people really are at risk. In America's hottest decade, the 1930s, people would have shrugged this off without air conditioning. In fact, they were out in the fields working on the farm.

I have to smile when I hear announcers on the radio say "Stay indoors and avoid strenuous physical activity." We had hot weather when I was a kid (it was even hot the day I was born), but no one ever told us to stay indoors and avoid physical work!

© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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