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Chapter 18
What the Grange Stands for in National Welfare

Not Selfishly for Rural Progress Only

From the date of organization of the Grange itself, as well as throughout the recorded discussions of the Founders, it became clear that the Founders wanted-and indeed succeeded in setting up-an organizational structure that would encourage and induce the members to become well rounded, knowledgeable, and active citizens of their own community and their country as a whole.

Though the basic structure of the Grange was, and will ever be, an agricultural structure, and though its beautiful agricultural ritualism preaches eloquently of the dignity of labor and of the beauty of rural life, Grange Founders did not even, in the beginning of the organization's history, confine their planning to farm and agricultural matters alone.

Being men of broad vision and of great ability, they succeeded in building an organizational structure predicated on the steadfastness, basic patriotism, and the solid worth of the farm and rural population. Their plan was designed to exploit the personal qualities of these people to help build a great country, even amidst the chaos which then existed in many rural areas following the Great War Between the States.

They took the first steps to position the Grange not only as an organization dealing with problems of the farm and rural life, but also dealing with many other matters affecting the total national welfare.

A very early important venture, which developed naturally out of the farmers' concern with transportation of their produce and needed supplies, rates and services of the railroads, was their successful fight leading to enactment of the Granger Laws and the first state and national control of all public utilities. (See Chapter 6, "The Granger Laws-Their Significance.")

No Infringement on Individual Freedom, Opportunity

Over the years since its very beginning the Grange has interested itself in all matters that involved any infringement upon maximum individual freedom and opportunity-not alone for the few, but for all people.

A Grange explanatory statement says it well:
National welfare depends upon decisions we make and upon the collective and individual action we take as free people in a democratic society.

We seek for ourselves, and for generations to follow, the preservation and enhancement of a heritage providing maximum individual freedom consistent with "the greatest good for the greatest number," economically, socially and spiritually.

For a number of years there has been a gradual trend toward centralization of Government authority and responsibility. This trend is a matter of deep concern to the Grange-and to all people who believe in our Constitutional form of government in which all power rests, ultimately, with the people.

Basic Grange Position on General Situations

Here are examples of how the Grange speaks out on broad matters of national welfare:


Grange policy reaffirms support for the freedom of state and local governments from encroachment by Federal Government. It insists that powers not specifically delegated to Federal Government by the U.S. Constitution (or prohibited by it to states) are reserved for the states or people. It also recognizes the separate functions of the legislative, administrative, and judiciary branches of Government and is opposed to the encroachment of either upon the functions of another.


The Grange recognizes the complementary interests of agriculture and labor; it will support this community of interest to the fullest extent possible under constructive policy.

The Grange is opposed to monopoly control-whether exercised by an individual, a corporation, a labor union or any other organization. Thus, provisions of laws to prevent the abuse of monopolistic powers of corporations should apply to labor unions as well.


There is need for legislation requiring all finance and insurance charges to be clearly itemized with the total specifically reported to the borrower, or recipient of services, in terms of "a simple annual rate" on the unpaid balance of the obligation.


The Grange will continue to support programs to provide adequate incentives to attract and hold competent teachers. It advocates that development and acceptance of programs and practices to reward teachers according to ability and performance, and in return, urges teachers to avoid action which tends to reduce public respect for their profession.


The Grange favors equalization of the school support tax burden and believes that dependence upon a single tax source is unwise; property taxes for school purposes should be supplemented by revenue from other sources.


Government should withdraw from businesses which can feasibly be operated by private enterprise. The U.S. Employment Service should confine its activities to providing employment services which are voluntarily requested by employees and employers and should not enter the field of regulation.


Because the Grange is opposed to double taxation in any form, it will oppose elimination of state gasoline taxes, vehicle fees and similar taxes already paid, as allowable deduction for Federal income tax purposes. Proposals to reduce or disallow deduction for property taxes and interest are also opposed.


The continuing need for secondary vocational agricultural training, in support of our traditional family farm pattern of agriculture, is recognized and the Grange supports measures to strengthen the vocational agricultural curricula to discourage high school dropouts, as well as technical training for non-farm occupations.


Currently and potentially, adequately powered "clear channel" radio stations offer the only feasible means of providing satisfactory night-time radio service to millions of rural Americans living in well over 50 percent of the nation's land area. The Grange will vigorously oppose any further duplication of frequencies now assigned to clear channel stations. It would further urge authorization of clear channel station use of additional power necessary to provide adequate night-time radio service to the millions of Americans living in rural areas and not now receiving such service.


Support for the adoption and implementation of a television channel allocation policy which will assure that existing television service to rural areas will be maintained and improved, is reaffirmed. Any proposals which would result in action impairing or destroying existing television service to rural areas will be opposed by the Grange.


The Grange reaffirms its stand in opposition to the extension of the power of Eminent Domain in any form which does not fully safeguard the interests of the owner. Each party should be entitled to an appraiser, and in addition a third impartial appraiser should be provided. We oppose the condemnation of agricultural land for recreational or military use when other land is available.


The water and land policy of the U.S. is haphazard, erratic and often contradictory. The Grange feels that the Nation can no longer delay a serious study of the conservation and the utilization of natural resources, especially in regard to water and land. Such a study should concern itself with projected needs for water and land, the sources from which these needs are to be supplied, and the means that are to be used to insure the public the benefits of such a program.

The Grange seeks national resource policies and programs which will, while protecting the rights and interests of individuals most directly involved, give major emphasis to local, state, regional, and national needs, in that order.

The foregoing are but a few of the many current policy positions of the Grange on matters of concern to all citizens. Annually, Grange Headquarters publishes a booklet entitled, "Summary of Legislative Policies & Programs." The 1966 booklet had 52 pages.

Wave of Tomorrow

The National Grange has received much praise for its Young Married's program, introduced in 1961 to give recognition to young married people and give them more opportunity through the Grange for fellowship with other young couples, for association with others having similar interests, for community recognition and leadership.

One of the key features of the program is the selection of the "Young Couple of the Year." Everett and Irma Holstein of Blair, Nebr., were the 1965 National Winners, being honored for their outstanding accomplishments at the Topeka, Kans., Annual Meeting.

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