Friday, May 26, 2017

Montana's Special House Election: We all lost last night...

Yeah, I said it. And if you don't like it, stop reading. We all lost last night and it's not because Greg Gianforte is a republican. In fact, unlike many of my counterparts, I value and respect the other side of the isle and understand there has to be a balance between the right and the left in order for democracy to work. I've seen where government has become too overreaching. I've worked at the State and understand the amount of waste that goes on through the miles of red tape and bureaucracy and the absolute absence of any kind of accountability. Trust me, I get it but last night and the last couple days has illustrated all that is wrong in this country and it saddens me.

I know, this is a blog about working, playing and living in the great state of Montana. Why am I talking politics? Well, because it has a huge part in how we live and get along out here and it has reached a point where folks have completely lost their minds and our politicians are driving that short-bus filled with the irrational and the intellectually weak and someone needs to say it.

Greg Gianforte "allegedly" assaulted a reporter the night before Montana's special election for our one seat in the House of Representatives in Washington. I've listened to the audio and heard from eye-witnesses and can't for the life of me, understand how anyone could take anything else from it than Gianforte being the aggressor and assaulting the reporter. Some people do see it the other way. They are all right-wing, conservatives. Yes, that's right. I said it and if I'm wrong would one person who does not still support Trump and feels that Gianforte was justified in the level of aggression he displayed in this confrontation, please tell me?

You see, I don't even care that much that people see it a different way. It will come out and Gianforte will be charged. Some people will see the truth and some will go on defending him with blind faith. To be honest, I don't even care that much that people think Gianforte was justified in doing what he did. Wait. Yes I do. The reporter asked a relevant question about Gianforte's stance on the health care bill after now seeing the CBO score. He said he would express his opinion on the bill once he saw the report. There was a sense of urgency from the reporter because people have the right to know and the election was the next day. He asked an innocuous question that was relevant. He wasn't physically threatening Gianforte. The reporter didn't attack him. He was in a room full of other reporters and a camera crew. If he wasn't welcomed in there, someone should have stopped him from walking in. If Gianforte didn't want to answer the question he could have just said that and people could have formed their own opinion from his non-answer. The reporter was just doing his job.

Here's where the real problem comes in. The next day, a buddy posted a couple updates on Facebook; one of them claiming that if that had happened to a president, then what would the response have been? I think the assumption is that the reporter would have faced a whole 'nother level of violence. (I'm not going to argue against this but I feel like this isn't an apples to apples comparison for a number of obvious reasons.) What this did however, was to give license to a lot of people to express an overwhelming sentiment that this reporter "got what he deserved." Again, all right-wing, white conservatives and mostly males. (Just stating the facts, folks.)

So, I chimed in. I don't normally do that because I know I'm just setting myself up to be crucified and honestly, I mostly just use Facebook for marketing but I felt I needed to say something. I was respectful. I wasn't attacking anyone. I wasn't calling anyone names or slandering anyone but the shit-storm of insults and personal attacks on me, from these right-wing conservatives, absolutely blew up and what it shows is a serious problem we have here in the States and something I feel we need to address if we are ever going to "make America great again." And since the politicians won't lead the charge. I will.

Let me just run through a few of the comments that were written about me:
1) I'm an ignorant liberal.
2) All liberals are ignorant.
3) I'm a dumb ass.
4) (All these things were said a number of times and most often by a teacher that was chiming in. I think it's scary that, that's who we are putting in charge of teaching our children.)
5) I'm a hypocrite.
6) I don't know what democracy means.
7) Only conservatives fight for our freedoms here.
8) I'm Polish...duh..
9) I'm an internet troll. (That, BTW, was said by someone that was trolling me.)
10) I must suck as a guide because I was on my computer yesterday instead of working.
11) I have nothing better to do than to sit on my computer all day. (That, again came from someone who was either on their computer or like I was, on their smartphone while doing other things!)
12.) Enjoy your freedoms that someone else fought for, (as if they know what I have or haven't done to fight for our freedoms.)
13.) I'm a Muslim Extremist lover.
14.) I hate America.
15.) I hate the second amendment and want to take all your guns away.
16.) I want to open up all our borders to illegal immigrants.
17.) I support border cities.
18.) Enjoy your hunt that someone else fought for your right to do.
18.) (My favorite,) Only conservatives fight for our freedoms here. (I just had to say that again.)

Here's the deal. I'm not going to go through and dispute all of these claims or defend myself. Those who know me can defend me if they want or not. It really doesn't matter. What is important here is that this form of debate doesn't get us anywhere. It's juvenile. I've seen better arguments from 12 year-olds on the playground but it just shows where we are as a country. I know, that sounds a little dramatic but it's true. Look at the way Trump talks about people. Look at what Gianforte did the eve of the election. Look at how these campaigns were orchestrated! This is crazy. This isn't how civilized people act. This isn't how democracy works. Violence does not equate to power, people. Power is derived through the expression of ideas and bringing together a consensus of the masses. You ever see what happens to the bully on the play-ground? Eventually he either get's his ass kicked or he finds himself alone or both.

And listen; the liberals are not off the hook. At the same time I was being called a shitty Polish guide, my partner in The Montana Dream Cast was being called a third rate radio host by a so-called progressive that didn't like his position. What's the point of that?

Don't get me wrong. I got fired up as well after about number 15 on the list and I started firing back too. But again, this is just another form of violence that is being perpetuated by our leaders and the people that stand to lose the most are we the people so we the people need to take a breath and just stop. This is ridiculous and I'd like to think we are all better than that.

Do you remember the book, "Seven Habits of Highly Affective People"? I would challenge everyone to look it up and read it or at least just visit the short version listing the seven habits. The couple I'd point to are: Seek to understand before being understood, Think win-win, and Scenergize.

Keep 'em where they live...

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