Are the majority of Fairmont, MN residents dumber than sh-t?

Was it the columnist H.L. Mencken who said that a person would never know poverty by betting against the intellect of the average American? Well, regardless of who said it, one need look no further than the small city of Fairmont, Minnesota for an example of the collective idiocy sadly displayed here in America. It runs rampant particularly in those places known nostalgically as the “Heartland”.

I don’t want to upset the citizens of Fairmont. I suspect that they wont be bothered for two reasons: 1.) hardly anyone reads my blog 2.) I suspect based on listening to this story about the city’s reaction to the establishment of a U.S. Department of Peace, many in in Fairmont don’t bother reading at all.

National Public Radio did a fabulous job covering the fallout of the city council’s unanimous approval of a resolution supporting the creation of a Department of Peace. Nearly two dozen cities across the nation have done so, including Detroit, Newark and Chicago, so the small community in southern Minnesota was hardly breaking ground when, spurred on members of the Fairmont Peace Club, the city council passed a resolution supporting HR 808.

Two weeks after the resolution passed, the hue and cry of residents forced three out of five councilors to conciliate and rescind their votes on the non-binding and symbolic resolution supporting a bill that will likely never reach the floor of the House.

But why the furor over something that seems to be quite logical. After all, as Peace club member Judi Poulson pointed out to NPR, in a world of conflict, “peace is strategy, just like war…it takes a lot of hard work and skillful people that have been trained.”

 Turns out Fairmont residents such as Gene Hackett see it another way.

“I grew up under a time when my generation was involved with peace,” Hackett said to NPR. “The things that they stood for with that peace symbol were wrong. It was bad.”

Hackett was insensed upon finding out that his city had kowtowed to the feel-good liberalism of peace, he decided to give the idea some consideration.

 Hacket logged on to his computer and visited Peace Alliance. The organization supports HR 808. What he saw when he went to the page disturbed him greatly. On the Peace Alliance Web site was displayed, of all the things, a peace symbol. He made up his mind and clicked X on the browser page.

“All I had to do was go on the Web site and find the peace symbol as one of their symbols to know it was wrong and I wanted nothing to do with it,” he told a meeting of the city council last fall.

Hackett’s not the only Fairmont resident who really took the time to think about the Peace Department.

 Jerome Korteum called it a “fluffy peace thing”, “There’s no reason for this type of stuff, it’s wrong, wrong, wrong.”

Reporter Daniel Zwerdling was slightly condescending in following up on the  story. But who can blame him? After all, these are stupid people, plain and simple.

 Case in point: Many of those who came out against the resolution had admitted to not reading the bill at all. And when asked why they opposed it, town morons Neil Breitbarth and Duane Roloff claimed that there was language in the legislation that would coopt American sovereignty and hand it to the United Nations.

The bill mentions the United Nations in four places and nowhere in it does it hand one iota of American decision-making to the U.N. Nowhere.

It’s funny to listen to these guys grasping at straws to explain to Zwerdling how the body, located in Manhattan’s Turtle Bay, would hold power over America. It’s actually a little uncomfortable, too. But like anyone stuck in their ways, ignorant and unwilling to analyze new ideas, Breitbarth and Roloff are adamant that the bill is a bad idea. Neither bothered to read it. Both hold out. Both are fine examples of what Mencken was referring to.

When he spoke to the city council Breitbarth harkened back to a bygone era. Of the legislation, he said: This view of human rights is not the same as our view of human rights but is more closely aligned with the view held by all communist nations.

Mind you that there are only four remaining “communist” nations in the world, only two of which actually resemble communism in all of its failures. So what is it? Shouldn’t tough guys like Breightbarth admire the way China and North Korea handle dissidents?

As humorous as I found the NPR piece, it was still a bit depressing. In America we have an abundance of natural resources, wealth, libraries and academic institutions. Although the first two are highly valued, the last two seem to be held in suspicion. This writer will not claim to be a particularly brilliant person. I do however, pride myself in reading. And certainly if I was going to speak on a national news network, let alone to my city council, I would like to know what I’m talking about.


Many of us Americans are willfully ignorant. That’s the way we want it to be. It feels good to be tribal, quaint and uninformed. That’s the type of feel-good living that helps us to justify the most irrational, immoral and inhumane behaviors, particularly war.


Four years on, the American public has nobody to blame in the Iraq mess by herself. Without analyzing it at all, a majority of Americans polled in 2002 and 2003 supported the illegal invasion of a sovereign nation without questioning the justification behind such a disastrous move. Unfortunately, I suspect that we will be the same group of people to turn a blind eye to the repercusions and refuse to figure out how it happened and how such a thing can be avoided.

Patriotism should be about reason and intellect, not feeling good. The people of Fairmont, Minnesota who came out against the Peace Department resolution without examining it, should be doubly ashamed of themselves.


16 Responses

  1. Putting the discussion about the worth of the Department of Peace legislation aside, I too was disturbed by the public display of ignorance* by select, albeit vociferous*, townspeople in Fairmont, Minnesota. The future of our democracy is in a citizenry* of informed and reflective individuals, willing to take measured risks to move our country forward. A nation is an ever evolving, organic entity that for survival sake must place itself squarely within the conversation of the times. Certain individuals in Fairmont were successful in overturning the collective judgment of an elected council by using historically loaded target words such as “commies”, “take-over”, peace as “fluff”, etc. to effectively highjack a deliberative process. If this is the result of our educational system in the United States,and we have done little more than cultivate reactive and lazy thinkers, America look out!


    ignorance: the condition of being unaware, uneducated, uninformed.

    citizenry: citizens considered as a group

    vociferous: making, given to, or marked by noisy and vehement outcry

    deliberative: from the word deliberate: done with or marked by full consciousness of the nature and effects; intentional

  2. I actually hads the displeasure of GROWING UP IN THIS HELL! Fairmont hates peace? What a suprise. Shame on you (UN)Fairmont!

  3. Well you failed to mention that one of the people at the forefront of the push for a peace department grew up in Fairmont, a ’77 graduate, Patricia Kuederer (Sorry Patty if I butchered your name). Now the majority of people in Fairmont if a little narrow minded and short sighted are good people who as you say live in an ignorant bliss and try to just enjoy life. Yes there are some vocal idiots, and what community doesen’t have them? I’m sure there are none in LA or NY? It was a great place to grow up and still a good place to raise kids. I’m sorry the ramblings of a few zealots made you think everybody there is an idiot. Couldn’t the same be said for all Muslims, All Jews and then for all Christians? Sometimes people just open their mouths and insert their feet. it doesen’t make us bad, it just means we don’t understand all the facts. We all sometimes get caught up in “I’ve made up my mind, don’t confuse me with facts” I hope nobody in your home town ever made a mistake or succumed to pressure from a vocal minority.

  4. Hugh, I think you’re right. I don’t think it was fair of me to cast your town with one stroke. I apologize for that generalization. Please accept that and thanks for the feedback.

  5. Why apologize for saying people in Fairmont are ignorant boobs?? It is the truth.

  6. I would like to vote a most hearty no to Mr. UnCut’s question.

    I was at the Fairmont meeting covered in Mr. Zwerdling’s piece.

    The Fairmont Peace Department controversey marked a turning. A year later. I see that it was we in the peace community who had so much to learn from all the residents of Fairmont.

    Stupid? No, my gratitude to the great citizens of Fairmont, on both sides of the fence, all the straddlers as well, and to Daniel Zwerdling who captured it so well, and all the bloggers who pop it around.

    When it comes to ideas about war and peace, there’s a pile of poo, bigger than a Mower County pork feedlot to be hauled away. We’re all stupid as sh-t and trying to figure it out. When groups do that in person, in their home towns, talking about what scares them, and a better world, well maybe if we dig deep enough we’ll find that pony.

  7. And I have to wonder how much of that peace-fearing ignorance is couple with God-fearing love. Ah the hyprocrisy .. alive and well all across the country.

  8. As a fellow human being said to me to the other day when I made a frivilous copy (what used to be called xeroxes),”DO YOU HATE THE ENVIRONMENT?!?”…How can anyone be against peace? What about love and truth, should we vote on those too (or is it a CIA plot designed to actually make the rest of the world mistrust and hate Americans)? Beauty need not be mentioned, one would hope, but certainly apprehended. Oh the slippery slope of unintended consequences, hidden agendas and multi-dimensional mobius strips and klein bottles. Green dreams. “Paradise is everywhere, we just refuse to see it.”

  9. Although I realize opposing the blog authors views will most likely be censured, I must try anyway. I also grew up in Fairmont. Although fortunately, it was during a time of prosperity and clear Midwestern values. It was a time before the onslaught of the disease known as Liberalism infected America. Unfortunately this once rich and prosperous city is being led by a council and administration that lacks the vision and intellect to see a city crumbling before them, as well as a bloated police force responding to such dangerous crimes as “suspicious persons” and reckless speeders with their 15,000 dollar police dog. I’m sorry, I digress, now with the real topic at hand. It seems that every time there is a conflict in the world where the U.S. must intervene to preserve not only Democracy, but to help abolish Socialistic agendas, the peace activists once again blow the dust off of their tie dye shirts and grab their signs. Although protesting war has never actually ended a conflict, these so called peace activists, backed by a Liberal media and public school system i.e. Teachers Union, use their platform not to change public opinion but to further their own Socialistic agendas by raising money for their parent organisations like the Liberal Left, MoveOn.Org and the likes. What these people must understand is that we live in very dangerous times. The world is not the same as it was 50 years ago. We are no longer fighting a social mistake like Communism. You cannot sit down a “talk” to the Middle Eastern and African leaders and discuss peace. The Muslim religion is the largest on the planet right now and its extremist leaders have declared Jihad on the United States. Does the Peace Alliance actually believe a suicide bomber would not target them because the have a “IMPEACH BUSH” bumper sticker on their car. Have these people already forgotten 9/11? This dangerous crowd of anti Americans actually believes that the Bush Administration orchestrated the entire thing. In order to think this way, one would almost surely have to be infected with a sort of dangerous mental illness. A illness that is spreading rapidly throughout our social structure and opening this country for further attacks. When our freedom and ideals fall to the wayside, and when English becomes a second language in this country, then maybe ideas such as a Peace Department will uncover its supporters as to what their true agenda is. Such as open borders, political correctness and a open global economy. I actually did visit the Peace Alliance website and studied their agenda carefully. I even watched the short clip composed by Marianne Williamson. Never before have I heard someone say absolutely nothing in a 2:45 sec time frame (unless you listen to Hillary Clinton of course). America must not forget that this enemy, whether it be Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Taliban or any other Muslim splinter cell that forms daily have only one agenda, that is to destroy us and our culture. Muslims have been quietly spreading out across the globe for decades now. Most claiming to be refugees of their rightful homelands, or are they? If Africa and the Mid East did find peace would these people return home? If violence erupted on a massive scale would Muslim refugees take up arms to defend the United States against their own religion, I for one do not believe so. I could spend hours on the topic of lack of assimilation alone, the left wingers would argue that this process takes time, although if they have visited a larger city anywhere in the world lately they would quickly see that it is the indigenous population that is being asked to assimilate. Can you peace activists explain to me why this is? If I were to bring Freedom to its knees, this is how I would start. Bless our troops and bless the United States of America. If the Peace Organisations are so frustrated with our country, well, our borders are wide open thanks to you, so please use them to leave.

  10. I grew up and returned to Fairmont after a few years. Great community, don’t let a couple of local dumb-shits sour the rest of the town. Beautiful city with an Opera House, Film Society, and wonderful lakes, and of course, nice open-minded people.

  11. I am proud to live in Fairmont and all i ask of you is to make sure you have the facts prior to your opinions. I was at the meeting and you are taking small points and making them fit what I beleive is your agenda. Nobody is against peace, that’s absurd. Is someone who is pro-choice against life? “declarations of fixed opinions and of determined resolution never to change it, neither enlighten nor convince us.” Ben Franklin.

  12. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  13. Speaking of idiots from Fairmont – this guy David Picka sure demonstrated his loud mouth ignorance. This guy and intollerant non-thinking hate are the cause of so many of our country’s problems today. It is so sad that the people who stick up for peace enable bullies like David Picka and the other NeoCon right wing bully freaks that have taken over the republican party and our media.

  14. I live in Fairmont and all I can say is it is an endemic cultural identity of the Midwest. Even the Nazis had supporters in Germany (and other parts of the world) and these anti-intellectuals of the Midwest would proudly don the brown-shirts anew — and do it in the name of God! — whilst pointing their sharpened fingers at the heathen ‘liberals’ (intellectuals) whom they blame for all of the America’s sufferings.

  15. WHY!!!Why in the world would anyone who got out of Fairmont ever return? Oh wait, for the wonderful restaurants?? NO!! For the choice in shopping places?? Try again!! For the way people wave at you when you pass them? I don’t think so. Maybe for all the decrepit houses they rent for Minneapolis rent prices?? Hardly?? Oh wait, must be for all the jobs they offer!! Oh yeah, there is not jobs here!! Hello folks, Fairmont people are dumber than shit!! This guy has it pegged. I live here (and plan to move soon, was not raised here…thank goodness!!). Let’s not forget that Fairmont MN school ranked #1 as far as education curriculum goes!! Sorry, that is not true either!! They actually post “suspicious person…” in the newspaper…not to mention “a cat was reported off it’s leash on the block of >….”, yes, this is really what the good ole Fairmont Sentinel says!! What a waste of ink!! If your hose gets broken into however or your car windows smashed, forget about then finding out who did it….not even with the $15,000 drug dog…although the cop who has that cruiser is quite good looking. Dumb as hell…but hey, who needs brains when you got beauty right?? Good looks will catch a criminal every time!! NOT!! That is how we like our police force around here. Hot as hell and dumb as a stick!! The only good thing Fairmont offers is 2 entrance ramps, one for I-90 east and one for I-90 west…to get the hell out of here!!

  16. See, it has rubbed off on me, I cannot even spell house…don’t worry, they don’t break into hoses around here!! But hey, if it gets stolen, don’t count on them finding out who did it!!

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