and I've decided I will probably live to tell the tale of the liberal state of Minnesota (from which I escaped by leaving a trail of corn kernels next to the railroad tracks so my train could find it's way back to Idaho.)
While there are some very lovely people living in Minnesota, the vast majority of them in the Twin Cities are so liberal they would have to be regarded at best as Socialists, with many bordering on outright Communism. I was also reminded that it is impossible to have a conversation or discussion with a far-left liberal. If you ask a question they can't answer, usually the first one out of your mouth, the immediate response is always a forceful "I don't want to talk about it." In all cases, the question asked was in response to something they brought up to begin with. How weird is that?
I also noticed a lack of intellectual curiosity, due, I'm thinking, to their being over-amused by chic coffee houses, a surfeit of restaurants, and more shopping areas than any city really needs. Their sole source of news seems to be the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Star-Trib in Minneapolis with their highly slanted far-left take on the issues.
Here's a typical exchange:
Friend: "Did you see what Gingrich said that has everyone up in arms?
Me: "You're probably referring to his statement about Palestinians being a "made-up" people."
Friend: "I don't remember. Let me find the newspaper article."
Digging through the recycling bag, a three-day old newspaper was produced. The heading of the article was, "Gingrich Calls Palestinians a Made-Up People" or something similar. After a quick glance at the article heading I said in the very calmest voice I could conjure up:
Me: "What is it about that statement you find so upsetting?"
Friend: "I don't want to talk about it." (Said with much force and anger.)
Not willing to give up quite yet, and with the best of intentions, I said in a happy and chirpy voice:
Me: "Have you read much Middle-Eastern history? It's really quite fascinating."
Friend: "I never read history. I don't like history."
Me: "Hmm, ok. So - where should we go to lunch today?"
Aside from a few blogger buddies living in Minnesota, there is no earthly reason to return to that state, and I will not. Pretty simple.
Another observation concerned the train ride to and from Minnesota. Leaving from Spokane, the train was loaded with oil workers headed to Williston and Stanley in North Dakota. I took the opportunity to talk with at least 10 or 15 of these men who were on my car. Most were from Sandpoint, ID or Montana, and all but one or two had advanced college degrees. Rather than collect unemployment, food stamps, or welfare of any type, they instead were willing to leave their families for a month at a time to work in some capacity in North Dakota.
On my return ride leaving from St. Paul, I was only able to identify one oil worker on the train. He was a young fellow from Ohio who was stockpiling his earnings in order to pay for his college education. He figured in two years he would have well over 150K in the bank.
When we reached North Dakota, the train once again filled up with not only oil workers, but many who were working in peripheral businesses, headed back west on their monthly or bi-monthly furlough. One enterprising young lady was running a catering company that provided food for many of the oil workers, and was heading back to Missoula, MT for the first time in several months.
So why wasn't the train loaded with Minnesota men heading to the oil fields? I mulled the question over for a few days, and the only conclusion I could come to was the fact that Minnesota is one of the highest paying welfare states in the country. Was it just easier to sit around and collect welfare than it was to head to North Dakota? Maybe - maybe not. But it does give us something to ponder.