When giants walked upon the earth: Latest Reformer column gets personal

Gov. Rudy Perpich was the only Mesabi Iron Range native to serve as governor. He correctly predicted in 1982 that the Iron Range would “never, never, never be the same” after the collapse of the taconite boom. (Wikimedia)

In 2008, I turned out 800 blog posts a year, an insane output devoted almost entirely to my hyperactive political opinions. If you’ve been reading my site these last few years you know that I’ve slowed way down. Part of that is just the normal sort of time commitments that turn many “bloggers” into “ex-bloggers.” (What’s a blogger? Does anyone use that word anymore?) But a great deal of this transition has been deliberate.

I got tired of repeating soundbites and saying things that anyone could say. The same old arguments with the same old limited viewpoints grew boring to me. I wanted to focus on writing things that only I could write.

So, I wrote and produced a radio show. I’m writing a book — a massive tome of historical nonfiction, bigger than anything I’ve done before. And I write my columns for the Mesabi Tribune and Minnesota Reformer.

Today, I share an essay I wrote for the Reformer, “The humbling of giants: The rise and decline of the Iron Range.”

I haven’t said much about the political machinations of my beloved Iron Range, despite my qualifications to do so. I know almost everyone involved and have covered the region for a couple decades now. Frankly, I’ve been saddened by the pathetic demise of the Iron Range DFL and the rise of an authoritarian local GOP.

It’s not that I was a model Democrat or that I wanted to become one of those annoying independents, always so quick to tell you they’re moderate. And I continue to count Republicans, even some ultra-conservative ones, among my personal friends. None of that was why I held back.

It’s just that I was so sad about what I was seeing. But I finally found something to say about this historical moment and what it all means to me. And, based on the kind reactions I received this morning, perhaps it will inspire thoughts and feelings for you as well.

Thank you for reading.

Check out the column at the Minnesota Reformer.



  1. Mike Worcester says

    Excellent column Aaron.

  2. Great column! One of your best. It was actually copied to me before I read it myself, so people not among your regulars are reading it.

  3. That is really good. You pared everything down to its truest essence. I feel if many of the diaspora performed the Examen upon themselves they would find something similar inside.

    “If they ask you about Charlemagne, be polite. Say something vague.”

    Lately, my thoughts are like: “For Whom the Bell Tolls”? The obvious answer is still, “For thee. The Bell Tolls for Thee!”

    You could always write toward the diaspora if your feelings ever became overwhelming and be a sort of anchor. You are an anchor to many people.

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