MOORHEAD, Minn. — Turns out folks who live in areas of Minnesota not in the metro area are less concerned about labels and more concerned about their dislike for the metro area.
Which is baffling.
The Twin Cities area, particularly Minneapolis and St. Paul, is wonderful. A place of people, energy, commerce, diversity, pro sports, a major university, restaurants, night life, culture, arts. You name it, the Twin Cities have it.
But to the readers of this column who responded to my query last week about whether they preferred the place in which they live to be called "Outstate Minnesota" (hooray!) or "Greater Minnesota" (boo!), most took the time to skewer the Twin Cities.
Yes 53% No 47%
Do you enjoy visiting the Twin Cities?
Thank you for voting!
A snippet from an email sent by Mark from Winthrop (20 miles north of New Ulm) was a good representation. He voted for Greater Minnesota.
"... Given the arrogance, and political and economic power of these folks, they pretty much think of themselves as being the entire state but those of us with enough sense to stay away know otherwise. 'Outstate Minnesota' just does not work and must be eliminated," Mark wrote.
Marie from Winona also wants to banish the term "outstate" because of its connotations.
"Forsaken, rejected, ostracized.
"For what? Being different? The other?
"For not being part of the privileged metropolitan elite?
"Mike, not everyone wants to be a City Mouse. Some of us, like me, insist on being a Country Mouse. Amenities: less congestion, shorter commute, cleaner air, less noise, sense of community.
"No one wants to be an 'outtie.' So why inflict this poisonous epithet on us?"
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Little did I know my innocent column — it was just a simple question, people — would evoke such emotion.
Many really, really don't like the Twin Cities.
Rural vs. urban. It's a tale as old as time, one supposes, and the schism has only been ripped wider in recent years. You need only look at an electoral map, noting which areas are red and which are blue, to understand how the distrust is entrenched.
There's more to it now than simply City Mouse and Country Mouse.
I've never fully understood the disdain from either perspective, perhaps because I'm a part of both universes. I grew up in a Twin Cities suburb and moved to a rural home north of Alexandria in junior high. My mother and two sisters still live in the metro. I currently live in Moorhead, population 45,000.
I enjoy the space and pace of rural Minnesota. I enjoy the crowds and rush of downtown Minneapolis. It's two different worlds, both with drawbacks and advantages. The idea of being an absolutist — rural Minnesota is perfect and the Twin Cities are worthless — has never occurred to me.
I can't see a Broadway show in Pelican Rapids, nor can I catch a walleye on Hennepin Avenue. I like to do both, so I like both places.
This would put in the minority of my Minnesota readers, apparently.
At least those from outstate.
Readers can reach Forum News Service columnist Mike McFeely at email@example.com or (701) 451-5655