And so the mask continues to slip away.
The most infamous and glaring account was, of course, Madame Hillary’s now notorious “Basket of Deplorables” comment during last fall’s election campaign.
But that was just the tip of the proverbial berg of frozen di-hydrogen monoxide.
It confirmed the theory that the Democrat/Progressive Elite really could care less about the careers and conditions of the American working class (you know, those Little People who actually build stuff, haul stuff, dig stuff up and fashion stuff into All The Pretty & Useful Things that make Modern Life a wonder to behold.)
Recently the New York Times Magazine ran a piece on the battle between The Deplorables and The Elites as it presently stands way up in The Great North Woods, literally where the Ends of the Roads intersect (state highways number 1 & 169 to be precise) in the Last Place on Earth: Ely, Minnesota.
It’s beautiful up there.
And harsh and brutal and filled with mosquitoes, chiggers and ticks and all kinds of ways The Big City Tourists who rush up there for long weekend excursions between Memorial Day and Labor Day can find a myriad of ways to ruin The Economy and The Working Lives of the hardscrabble folks who reside there for the other nine months of the year.
As the NYT mag reported, the battle is joined between two key Democrat constituencies: environmentalists and union labor.
Some excerpts from the article:
“There are two Elys, two different realities, different visions,” Tom Coombe, the editor of The Ely Echo and a fourth-generation Elyite, told me.
The place also distills the political fault lines in today’s America, pitting an angry working class against progressive activists.
For as far back as he can trace it, Dan Forsman’s family has lived here, where iron meets water.
he notes, those who oppose new mining jobs — “elitists” and “hypocrites,” Forsman calls them — benefit from the same metals that blue-collar workers like him produce. “People don’t understand where things come from anymore,” he said.
Forsman is proud of his part in this 360-employee mining enterprise. He’s proud that his labor makes something tangible: Huge chunks of rock become tiny bits of rock, which are ground and baked into half-inch pellets containing 67.5 percent iron, which leave this processing plant on the rails at a rate of 8,500 tons a day. The pellets are loaded onto ships in Duluth, where they float along Lake Superior to the other Great Lakes. At the bottom tip of Lake Michigan, just east of Chicago, tons of these pellets are fed into the largest blast furnace in the Western Hemisphere and smelted into steel, eventually becoming cars or trucks or household appliances or plate steel for ships and armored vehicles.
Her name is Becky Rom, and she is the head of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. What makes him (Forsman) most angry is Rom’s condescension, her moral certainty: “The way she comes off, her attitude and way of doing this, it’s part of the problem.”
“Danny Forsman drives to the mine in his truck, comes home and watches TV, and he doesn’t know this world exists,” says Becky Rom, a 68-year-old lawyer who returned to her childhood home after retirement and now leads the environmental campaign.
After Rom and her husband, Reid Carron, retired from the largest law firm in the Twin Cities — she was a commercial real estate lawyer, he a management labor lawyer — they moved north in 2012 to a modern log cabin they had built on land her father bought decades before on Burntside Lake.
“We’ll never change a Dan Forsman’s mind,” Rom said. “We’ll never change his father’s mind. Because they’re not open to a conversation.”
“Resentment is the primary driver of the pro-mining crowd here — they are resentful that other people have come here and been successful while they were sitting around waiting for a big mining company,” Carron told me. “They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock.”
Something’s gotta give in the Democrat Coalition.
The local Democrats on the Iron Range know it and they are fearful and fed-up at the same time:
“You cannot make a living on the Boundary Waters,” Tom Rukavina, a longtime Democratic politician from the region, told me. “The 100 miners that live in Ely, Minnesota, are what keep that town going nine months a year. Otherwise when tourists come in summertime, there’d be nothing there: no restaurants, no hospitals.” Whether or not Rukavina is right, the lowest rungs of tourism work will never feel like career options for the longtime Ely residents (mostly men) who stand to benefit from mining work. They see it as fundamentally a question of dignity for families that have worked blue-collar jobs for generations. As Rukavina puts it, “I don’t want to be anybody’s Sherpa.”
The last thing DFL Chair Ken Martin needed was this: a story in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine that exploded already simmering tensions between two key groups in the DFL coalition — environmentalists and miners on the Iron Range.
This open rift between two groups important to the DFL coalition — environmentalists and the building trades unions — could allow Republicans to peel off rural votes.
But the damage is done.
The DFL may hope this will go away. But for Iron Rangers, what they long suspected is now confirmed. And they are known to have long memories.