Saturday, February 20, 2010

ND: small-town sweethearts or freaking a-holes?

Readers have commented on these stories, saying how one or the other is more representative of small towns in North Dakota. Some people say some small towns are more accommodating than others, some say North Dakotans are nice to everyone, but one thing's for sure, North Dakotans are proud of themselves and take critique and small-town stereotypes VERY seriously.
Sure, North Dakota can stare the recession in the face and say, jigga who? We, North Dakotans, have a billion dollar budget surplus and the state increased its share of public school funding, so we had a property tax cut. But at the same time, they have county roads more dangerous than a rollar coaster without a seatbelt and that's when you get to them. The other six months, they're covered in snow because crews take weeks to remove it. 
North Dakota, like every other state in the nation, has its good sides and its bad. I, too, am a newcomer to the state. I'm wowed by the people willing to jump Vinny and push him to softer ground. Nowhere else do people go so out of their way to help neighbors, friends and coworkers struggling with medical emergencies, natural disasters and other disabling events. But even with the outpouring, I'm outraged at close-mindedness to different cultures and lifestyles and the lack of curiosity and compassion for people unlike them. Plus, if I hear one more farmer receiving CRP/ other farm subsidies complain about welfare or one more Medicare recipient complain of government intervention in healthcare, I may just strap on my pointy-toes and kick like frightened cattle. 
North Dakota is great, but it isn't perfect. Children in small towns have the opportunity to play every sport and join every club here, but school budgets are too small for art class. Children grow up knowing their neighbors better family, but at 18 years old, have never met a person with skin of charcoal or eyes of almond shapes. Here, binge drinking is the highest in the nation.
North Dakota has its good and its bad. I think everyone can agree on that. I'm not sure which story is the epitome of this, but my guess is it's exactly in the middle. 

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