Never vote for a Finn


A friend of Patrick’s ran for mayor in Eveleth, a town up on the Iron Range in northern Minnesota. She lost, and she thinks it was because she’s a Finn.

When she was door knocking, people told her they would never vote for a Finn, because the Finns were too radical in the big iron strike in 1916 (or maybe the strike of 1907 — I’m not sure). As a result, the National Guard was called in, and the miners lost the strike.

I am back thinking about Elizabeth Moon’s argument that America requires that people assimilate. But they don’t. People of Slavic descent on the Iron Range are still mad at the Finns a hundred years later. I remember that the Icelanders had to fight three wars with the British in order to control their offshore fishing. I also remember that the Danish government pretty much left the Icelanders alone to die of starvation when Iceland was a Danish colony.

I don’t spend a lot of time being mad at the Danes. But I do remember the British are no friends of Iceland. Does this matter to me? Yes.

I think people grossly underestimate the extent to which Americans are loyal to ethnic groups and local regions.

The middle class is less ethnic than the working class; and the upper middle class and the rich know no loyalty to anything except their own class. So I think pundits and politicians underestimate local loyalties.

What does this mean. It may mean that the country is more fragile than most people realtize and could fall apart.