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Friday, June 14, 2024
HomeEditorialThe Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

Today I’m straying into some politically in­correct areas that may piss off those on the left, and the right.

I recently learned that in 2021 the Minnesota DNR changed the name of the Gypsy Moth to the Spongy Moth. The nasty bug is an in­vasive, non-native species found in the eastern US that causes significant damage to trees. It has recently been found moving into our great state.

The DNR thought the word gypsy offensive to Romani (Roma) people. The Roma are a no­madic people who traditionally lived an itin­erant lifestyle in southern and eastern Europe. Gypsy has been used to label and denigrate them, partly because people believed they originated in Egypt. They actually originated in Northern India. Ignorance is a widespread human condition.

Since I’m not a “real” journalist, I can declare I am a left of center Democrat. I’m not afraid of the “liberal” label. All the worry about of­fending people has gone too far. It serves to cement the biases and prejudices of those who loudly, and sometimes violently, express their opposition to “liberals” and support for right wing-nut politicians and preachers. It causes the more moderate to wonder which excess is better.

One of our canines is named Gypsy. She came from a rescue in Illinois with the tem­porary name Serenity. We never thought about the Roma people when renaming this bundle of love and energy and it would be a silly waste of time to rename her now.

Will someone soon say the SpongeBob peo­ple are offended that a moth is named Spongy?

See what I mean?

Pronouns are another issue that divides rath­er than reconciles. Having raised teens and en­joyed grandchildren coming of age, I am not insensitive to the troubles of sexuality and sex that teens experience. I was a teen once myself.

If you don’t remember your struggles around sexuality, read some of the popular fiction from the last century for a refresher. Uncer­tainty about sexuality ain’t new.

Some of my liberal friends foisted the whole pronoun preference choice on a people, a sig­nificant majority of Americans, who struggle every day to keep the wolves at bay. When you struggle to afford housing, food and health care, why does a chosen pronoun of someone you barely know mean diddly squat? It’s just more evidence that the powers that be care more for the pronoun than for the struggle that is everyday life.

That’s when the demagogues step in. They provide assurance to this large part of our pop­ulation that struggles every day, that they, the white politicians, are the ones who know the problems of life are because “those people” want to eliminate “your” culture.

They strut like cock roosters across stages at rallies around the country promising that cli­mate change is a hoax (it’s not), racism does not exist (it does), and vaccines cause autism (they don’t).

They go on to say that it’s the people who don’t want to offend the Romas or who de­mand we all claim and use our own pronouns who want to destroy your culture (whatever that is) and take away your rights.

Reconciliation is pretty much impossible when people on both sides are more offended by what is harming them individually than they are about what is harming them collectively. Lack of good jobs, housing that is unafford­able, and a climate that continues to worsen. Racism and sexism continue to affect everyday life. The limited natural resources that civili­zation needs to survive–fossil fuels and water specifically–get more limited every day.

So, what do you think?

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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