Climate-crisis refugees are headed this way. Could Fargo at least grab some good grub?
Headed for the hardware store this past weekend, my 18-year-old son and I lamented the already cold temperatures in Fargo, N.D. It was 40°F at the time with a windchill of 31°, fer cryin’ out loud, and a high for the day projected at only 43.
My boy chuckled, then started telling me about the increase in TikToks he’s noticed lately that feature young North Dakotans roasting the state, saying how bad it sucks weather-wise and otherwise.
Hard to disagree.
This is MAGAt country, to start with. Big time.
In 2016, 63 percent of North Dakota voters cast their ballots for TheRUMP. In 2020, despite four years of democracy destruction, The Former Guy actually gained two percentage points. North Dakota’s single U.S. House member is a Republican, as are both senators, and all three are TheRUMP bootlickers. Meanwhile, back home, Republicans sit in 85 percent of the seats in the state legislature.
Politics here is about the Three G’s – gays, god and guns. The majority of North Dakotans are disturbingly against the first, blindly faithful if not fanatical to the second and insanely protective of the third. I’m proud to be solidly in the minority on all three.
Hicksville, you ask? Hell yes! How else would they think building the visitor’s center in the state’s largest city, Fargo, in the shape of an old-style grain bin was a swell idea?
And let’s not forget the fossil-fuels addiction. The mantras around here are, “Drill, Baby Drill!”, “Dig, Baby, Dig!” and “Burn, Baby, Burn!” If you have any doubt, know this – one county’s commissioners recently made it illegal to develop wind energy within their jurisdiction, even though renewables could provide great jobs for their constituents and boost the local economy.
On that score, at least, the state’s Democrats aren’t much better. Several of the planks in the Dem-NPL party’s platform lend either direct or tacit approval for fossil fuel production. They like to call it “all-of-the-above energy policy,” which is simply another fine euphemism for the aforementioned mantras.
As for the “North Dakota Nice” they like to brag on, ad nauseam, it’s surface level at best and backstabbing at worst. In other words, they’ll smile to your face but just as likely talk shit about you when you turn around.
And, last but certainly not least, it is fucking freezing through nearly five months of the year and not much warmer for two of the remaining seven.
Yes, the vulgarity is necessary.
So what’s not to like? Right? Right?
My Gen Z son continued. “And they’re all accurate!” he said of the TikToks, laughing a little harder.
I laughed with him.
Then I started in on a diatribe he’s heard before. Too many times, I’m afraid.
It’s the one about how, over the next 50-100 years, as glaciers continue to melt at alarming rates, sea levels rise, ocean temperatures increase, feedback loops become irrevocably entrenched and hurricanes get even fiercer, people are going to move inland. Heck, this harangue goes, the continent’s geographical center is only a couple of hundred miles northwest of here, so we’re as far from any ocean as one can possibly get; the sibling cities of Fargo, N.D. and Moorhead, Minn. might just become a metropolis. Who’s to say the population of the Fargo-Moorhead MSA won’t jump from its current 252,000 to millions, skyscrapers blocking out the prairie skyline, the whole shootin’ match, as they like to say ’round here.
“Then maybe people won’t be making so much fun of the place,” I concluded.
“Yeah,” my son replied in all seriousness, “and maybe at least Fargo’ll finally get some decent restaurants.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know…,” he said, “climate change bad, horrible disasters, all that. But still.”
And you know what? I get it.
Maybe hoping for better restaurant options in the context of global climate-driven devastation that’s already started and the social upheaval to come sounds selfish. Unrealistic. Absurd, even. But listen –
My kids, their friends and I’m guessing most Gen Zers around the world are sick of hearing the doomsday projections for what they’re going to have to live through as they watch so-called “leaders” do squat. They’re seriously pissed off at the generations that put them in this position. And they’re trying to come to terms with their likely futures. So if they’re looking for something – anything! – positive to say about living in the progressing climate catastrophe, who are we to blame? Or judge? Or even glance askance?
Better restaurants? That’s the least Gen Zers have every right to hope for. And who knows? As they adapt to the scientifically certain impacts of global warming and resulting climate change, perhaps more and better restaurants in the center of the continent won’t seem so far-fetched, after all.
The true absurdity is the current batch of elected officials and autocrats who either deny the scientific certainty of climate change, refuse to address it in any case or support half measures that won’t make much difference over the long term, all so they can continue to get richer.
So it goes. Either way, Gen Z son and I agreed, regardless of whether the imminent climate-change-ravaged world will mean better eat-out options for Fargoans, living in North Dakota is probably still gonna suck.
To the hordes of offended North Dakotans who are about to email or comment, I’m quite aware that since I dislike North Dakota so much I’m more than welcome to leave and that you hope the door actually does hit me in the ass on my way out, hard. Thank you in advance for that bit of wisdom, but it’s not always as simple as packin’ up and headin’ out. But my time will come.
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