I’m good for two posts today. This first one is “Harry’s Diary” stuff, more for my mental contextual record keeping than anything else (What was going on when I wrote that nonsense?). The next post will be the one that covers the news and the behind the scenes stuff. That will have to wait for my return from my Mother’s where, as per usual, I will shortly go to sing to her after her breakfast wakes her up a bit.

I’ve particularly enjoyed the bygones in the DNT since August. I moved to Duluth 40 years ago so the bygones is mentioning all the news stories I read about that helped me come to know Duluth and its politics in 1974. One of the first things I did upon moving to Duluth was start up my subscription to the Tribune the “morning” paper. There were two papers back then. The Herald was the evening paper published for all the workers who didn’t have time to digest the news before work.

Yesterday’s Bygones reminded me of one of the things that perturbed my conscience upon moving to Duluth. From the Bygones:

Oct. 21, 1974
St. Louis County Attorney Keith Brownell has notified three Iron Range mining companies they must stop requiring job applicants to affirm on their applications that they are not members of the Communist Party. Brownell said the practice violates the 1974 election law.

I was raised in the shadow of the Communist Witch Hunt’s of the 1950’s and in the heat of protests against the Vietnam War and with a good dose of public spiritedness from my high school Debate days. The first year on the team we argued the fine points of the Miranda ruling which was all about telling arrestees their rights before questioning. I knew damn well that asking folks about their old Commie affiliations was as wrong then it is for today’s employers to ask about a job candidate’s sexual preferences. Still, to get my teaching job in Proctor in 1974 I folded.

When I got the job application up in Proctor I saw with horror that it asked me if I had ever been a member of the Communist Party. I knew that by rights I ought to shove the damn job application up the butts of the people who handed it to me.(What I mean, of course, is I should have politely pointed out that this was an improper question to ask a prospective employee)

Did I do what I should have done………? Silly you for asking. I needed a job. The school year was just starting. I was getting married in a couple weeks. Teaching jobs for social studies teachers were as scarce as hen incisors. I chickened out and told the truth. “NO,” I was not now and never a member of the Communist Party. I was a Republican for heaven’s sake!

The issue of what kinds of questions are fit to be asked will be a big part of my next post. But first I’ll have to go sing. Then I’ll post. Then I’ll build Jabba the Hutt. I’m looking forward more to Jabba than jabbering if you were wondering?

TTFN. (Ta Ta for now).

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