1986 Jan 18 – 2nd Sun Ord Time (Bulletin Letters)
January 17, 1986
Wed Jan 15, 1986 Des Moines Register
Leaders of the Iowa Farm Unity Coalition and others had proclaimed Tuesday “Farm Crisis Day ‘86’,” and they used Branstad and his speech as a backdrop to attract media attention for their attack on Reagan administrartion farm policies.
Several hundred farmers gathered for the protest, and there was more secuirty than normal for a Condition of the State speech, although officers reported no trouble.
As Branstad left the House chamber, he was met by Rev. Frank Cordaro, a Roman Catholic priest who shouted a prayer. Branstad listened.
“Lord God. our state is in trouble,” Cordaro said. “The rural community is falling apart…businesses are disappearing…churches are closing… and the family farmer on which this state was built is disappearing. Worst of all, we’re turning on ourselves, and our brothers and sisters are dying.”
Several feared that Cordaro would try to assault Brantand or try to get arrested in an act of civil disobedience. As Branstad walked away and tension eased, the Rev. David Ostendorf,, a coalition organizer, looked at a reporter and whisper: “Whew.”
My Farm Week In Review:
MONDAY: I attended the “National Farm & Food Conference” in Mpls. I was on a panel during a workshop on Civil Disobedience, Direct Action and the Farm Struggle. I met people who have already done direct action and civil disobedience in the farm effort. The keynote speaker stressed the need for direct action if we are going to help the people slated to lose their farms this year. I brushed shoulders with many kindred “spirits” in Mn. It was a good conference.
TUESDAY: I was one of 200 rural folks at the “Farm Crisis Day” at the State Capitol in Des Moines. There were six people from Harrison County in our group. We had hoped the Governor would listen to our concerns after he delivered his Condition of the State Address in the House Chambers. As it turned out, the governor only stayed long enough for my opening prayer. I can’t speak for the governor or for the people gathered in the Capitol Rotunda at the time. I can only speak for myself and I must profess I was moved by the prayer. It was as if my “spirit” was emptied by God to ready my heart for what the Lord has in store for us. I dare say no more.
WEDNESDAY: A farmer visited me late at night. His farm is in trouble. They have been fighting this thing for over three years. One son lost his farm and another never even tried to keep his. He has been near an emotional breakdown several times. Over the long haul his spirit is waning.
THURSDAY: After visiting with an attorney in Council Bluffs about the farm crisis, I stopped at St. Francis House to unload a car full of clothes. They were cleaning their freezer and asked if I knew of any farmers needing frozen meats. They filled my station wagon. On the way home I couldn’t help thinking how ironic it was that I would be taking food from St. Francis House and delivering it to needy farm and rural families. We are living in harsh and strange times. Yet the spirit of generosity will not be denied. Thank you, Jesus.
FRIDAY: As I write this, I’m on my way to yet another Sheriff Sale at the Court House in Logan.
P.S. I’ve decided not to take my vacation until after Easter and well into planting season. Welcome back Rev. Bob Cook this week. Bob will be with me during the week working on his doctoral dissertation. Finally, there is a good chance that my mother will be visiting me this weekend. If she comes, I will show her off to you at Mass.
(Article from the Register January 15, 1986)