By: Charlene Nelson
This horrible virus that has upended society, wreaked havoc and re-written our social code has now taken a good man from us. On April 8th, Ralph Muecke of Gladstone passed from this life and we are left with a gaping hole.
Most North Dakotans have no idea how much they owe to this man. But there is hardly an important political issue that he has not influenced or played a role in. In the world of initiatives and referrals, his bailiwick, his activism is the gold standard. I doubt there is anyone in our state who has gathered more signatures, advocated for more issues, written more letters to the editor and testified in more legislative hearings than my friend Ralph. If, in some future time, North Dakotans no longer pay property tax, it will be because of the ground work Ralph helped lay and his passionate dedication to this issue.
Ralph was a burly man, with a warm smile and a hearty laugh. His wife, Louise, was the yin to his yang: diminutive, soft-spoken with an air of refinement. The two supported each other in fine-tuned harmony. He spoke with a North Dakota drawl, punctuated now and then with gasps of exasperation at the absurdities he saw around him. Most saw him as a simple farmer, some thought him simple-minded. But this was no simple man. He had a keen intellect and a finely-honed logic filtered through North Dakota common sense. He used his gift for words to defend crucial conservative issues.
Unlike most people of “a certain age”, Ralph was not afraid of technology. He was the first person I knew to have a fax machine in his house for personal use. And he put that fax machine to good use, sending out a stream of letters to newspapers, legislators and state officials. Then he bought a computer and soon mastered email lists and online research. He was well-informed, always speaking out in defense of conservatism. He bore no patience for the deceit of the Progressive Left.
Ralph did the work of five men. He farmed full time and was involved in his church. He was an active member to the North Dakota Farm Bureau. He attended just about every district and state GOP meeting possible. He energized grass roots efforts on dozens of ballot issues. He was fiercely faithful to the foundational principles that built our country and made our state thrive.
When William Wordsworth described the happy warrior, it must have been Ralph Muecke that he saw in some far-seeing vision:
But who, if he be called upon to face
Some awful moment to which Heaven has joined
Great issues, good or bad for human kind,
Is happy as a Lover; and attired
With sudden brightness, like a Man inspired;
And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws
His breath in confidence of Heaven’s applause:
This is the happy Warrior; this is he
That every man in arms should wish to be.
Having answered the call of his Captain, Ralph can stand proudly with his peers, our patriots passed. And now it falls to us to continue the fight and carry the banner that he so faithfully bore.
Charlene Nelson is a long-time political activist. She lives in Casselton, North Dakota with her husband, Ross. Charlene enjoys gardening and runs a website about provident living called “Provident Home Companion“.
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