Preserving "A Fair Chance For a Free People" - Karl E. Mundt

Push-Button Government

Mrs. Karl Mundt Karl Mundt

" If I push the button I can turn off all the lights in San Bernardino , and if I push THIS one, I can turn off the water in Los Angeles." It was the operator of one of the control rooms at Hoover Dam speaking. 1

"What would happen if the wrong person should get in here sometime and start pushing buttons?" someone asked. The operator shook his head. "The wrong person pushing buttons in here could play havoc with the entire west coast area," he replied. 1

My thoughts went back to a dimly lighted, dusty room in Denver in 1934. My husband and I had infiltrated a meeting of the Communist Party, which was presided over by a professor from the University of Colorado . He was presenting a communist plan for seizing control of the government of the United States . Several times during the evening he repeated the phrase: 'An invasion of this country may not be necessary. If we play our cards right, it can be taken from within.' 1

On the wall was a large map of the United States , but it looked strangely unfamiliar. All the boundary lines of the states had been erased and the country was divided into nine sections controlled by river authorities similar to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). 1

The professor continued his lesson: "We can never hope to take over this country if we have 48 strong governments in the states to oppose", he stated, "we must get the states to depend more and more on the federal government for their very existence." 1

He turned to the map: "Here we have a picture of this country controlled by nine river authorities, all of which are dominated by the central government. The TVA is now a reality and I'm happy to tell you that we have some of our party members planed there. We must have more Valley Authorities. There must be a MVA and CVA and so on until the nation's light and power is controlled from a central force. We are not interested in cheaper power for the people. What we want is to get our members planted in vital spots where at a given signal by merely pushing a button or pulling a lever they can plunge the country into darkness and disaster." 1

  1. Mundt, Mary. "Push Button Government." Essay. Karl E. Mundt Archives.
  2. Heidepriem, Scott. A Fair Chance for a Free People. Madison, SD: Leader Printing Company, 1988.
SD State Seal

© Karl E. Mundt Historical & Educational Foundation and Archives, All rights reserved. Karl Mundt Library and Learning Commons
Dakota State University
820 N. Washington, Madison, SD 57042
Phone: (605) 256-5203

DSU