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?

Screenshot of TikTok by @dtb._isaac
A typical ND-roasting TikTok, by @dtb._isaac

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.

Photo of a MAGAt truck in Fargo, ND
Photo taken Sunday, October 16 in Fargo, N.D. You can’t see it well from this angle, but, yep, that’s a TheRUMP flag up front in the midst of four USA flags, one at each of the box posts. A “Fuck Biden” sticker is peeking out from behind the POW flag, and the sticker down at the bottom reads, “Straight * Conservative * Christian * Gun Owner”. Guess “Love thy neighbor” isn’t so much part of Christian dogma anymore, at least here in MAGAt country.

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.”

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHaHahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa….

“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.

Closing Note

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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6 Comments

  1. Martin,
    Was it intentional to use the below sentences twice? You have a double of
    “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?”

    Anyway, I’m becoming a conspiary theorist on my old days. I’m looking back at 2018 when some journalists in the UK spoke about: Brexit, Trump and Vladimir Putin’s assault on European and US democracy: The Road to Unfreedom, by Timothy Snyder.
    https://aidanjmcquade.com/2018/06/17/brexit-trump-and-vladimir-putins-assault-on-european-and-us-democracy-the-road-to-unfreedom-by-timothy-snyder/
    Summary: A terrifying and convincing account of the assault of Russian fascists and their useful idiots upon Western democracy.
    North Dakota’s Republicans are happily jumping into the quagmire with both feet confirming their role of being useful idiots. They cheer on the Saudis and Russians as they are raising the oil prices and blame Joe Biden for this when, most likely, the Holy Trinity of ‘Fascism’, ‘Oligarchy’ and Saudi ‘Monarchy’, unite in exploitation of their current upper hand, in an abrupt manner, disturbing the oil and gas supplies. The last the Trinity would want to see is a growth in renewable energies, which is the direction we absolutely must take, to counteract the Tinity’s immediate stranglehold on the economy. Does this make sense to you or am I just an old fool rambling?
    There comes a point in time when inflation and product scarcety will come to a halt. This can only happen if we the people cut back on out fossil fuel consumption to a point when the Russian and Saudi producers develop a surplus, forcing them to cut production even more or lower prices. The Saudi’s can hold probably hold out for a while, but the Russians cannot without China. Is there a way to get China on our side and reduce Russian export of fossil fuels to China?

    1. Thanks for pointing that out, Paul. It was, indeed, a mistake. I’ll check out the book – it sounds incredibly interesting. As for your analysis, you’re spot on you “old fool”! 😉

  2. Reality check: If people are fleeing the coasts and crowd in there, a major problem will exist for farming of any sort. Expect worse restaurants, not better. Food variety will suffer. Quality will suffer.
    Guess which party needs to be totally voted out of any office, at any level, if we have any chance to avoid all this?
    Education! It’s necessary: History, science, math and government and society (when i was young, not a favorite of mine, then i found out that they’re all intertwined).

Let me know what you think!