And proud of it.
Raves about my home state of North Dakota landed in the pages of the Washington Times on May 18, 2011, under a cleverly disguised, backhanded compliment of a headline, “Revenge of the squares in North Dakota.” Writer Joseph Bottum cited the usual… fiscal conservatism, can-do spirit, minimal reliance on social services…. All fine and good.
The crux of his (kind of) kind words however, is that the rest of the country sees us as a joke (his word, not mine). He paints a pretty prairie scene of ‘homogenous churchgoers.’ Can I get an uff-da?
As a Fargo girl, I see this state as a microcosm of the world, with a little of everything. We’ve got cowboys and indians, farmers and fashion designers, artists and computer geeks. I’ve bounced between the east and west halves of the state and have lived my life witnessing the clashes of non-homogenous people. The North Dakota oil boom has added a new layer to our story.
We’re getting a lot of attention these days because we have some cash to flash. I think Obama said it best in a speech the day after the article’s publication:
“Yes, some nations are blessed with wealth in oil and gas, and that has led to pockets of prosperity. But in a global economy based on knowledge and innovation, no development strategy can be based solely upon what comes out of the ground.”
Barack Obama, May 19, 2011
Thank you Joseph Bottum for recognizing the sum of our parts is greater than the whole (although some of the parts you referenced aren’t quite on cue).
As our state learns to play with so much money it really does seem to be growing on our North Dakota trees, I only hope we can handle it with the values you see in us – “honesty, industry, thrift and the like.”