This past Friday, Democrats across the city gathered for an annual gathering of food and fundraising, but a new and welcome attendant joined the otherwise routine evening- Fury. Historically, Dems have been known for playing fair and avoiding ad hominem attacks. I’ve long been a critic of this incremental nice-guy approach, especially as the MAGA train has squashed any notion of polite politics. And while our candidates stayed true to their core value of focusing on issues and not their opponents, there was a newfound fire on stage last Friday.
We’re mere weeks out from the most important state election of our time. Republicans are a few seats away from a supermajority, and they have vowed to dismantle our State Constitution. This move is not only to ban abortion, but to fundamentally reshape Montana. While it’s clear our Dem candidates are still willing to work across the aisle, it seems they’re also done taking any shit when it comes to fighting for our rights.
Candidate for HD23, Melissa Smith, summed up what’s at risk this election saying,
“This is another 2016 moment. Are we going again to fail to do enough to stem the tide of right wing extremist who will ban all abortions, rewrite our Montana constitution – taking away our right to a clean and healthful environment, to privacy, to a quality public education, our voting rights, to understand the complete history of where we live with Indian Education for All, the right to love who we want to love, and to be free to be our authentic selves.”
First-time candidate Kari Rosenleaf is running to represent HD26. Rosenleaf may be a newcomer to politics, but she’s been an advocate for children her entire life. Rosenleaf used her 3-minutes to tell the audience she’s ready to fight for us, saying,
“I’m a public school teacher! I deal with and defuse tantrums all day. I wrangle and educate our most vulnerable kids. I can sure as hell deal with Republicans in the legislature.”
Indeed, the energy on the stage felt wholly different than other Dem events I’ve attended over the years. While the values and commitment to our state and its people have never waivered, the urgency of the moment seems clear to all. We’re at a turning point in Great Falls and in Montana. We’re dangling on the edge of immense government overreach, and a total loss of our freedom as we know it. While some have counted Great Falls out, this slate of candidates confirms what we’ve always known about our city- we’re scrappy af and we won’t go down without a fight.
My favorite speech of the night- the one that made me cry and fucked up my eyeliner, was from former Legislator and current HD24 candidate, Barbara Bessette. The only Indigneous candidate in our city, Bessette wore a ribbon skirt and a Roe shirt, owning her identity and her values with pride. It’s been a summer of overt racism towards Montana’s Indigenous peoples, but we’ll save that for another article. Too often, we ignore the fact that almost everyone in the room is White. We may like to fight on behalf of BIPOC people, but there’s seldom any real effort to follow their lead. Bessette’s speech was a fantastic reminder that Indigenous peoples were here first. They’re still here. And they’re still fighting.
So, Barb Bessette ruined my makeup, starting with this line from her speech.
“Im Standing up here because my ancestor’s survived genocide and oppression for centuries. I feel their strength and perseverance in everything I do. Their spirit is always with me.”
Truly, every candidate on the stage impressed me this weekend. They didn’t just name their values and read their resume. They acknowledged the danger we’re in, the weight of the oppression many of us face, and they told us how they’re going to take the Republican boot off of our necks.
LR-131 sucks. Why I’m voting No and yelling about it.
Come with me my friends, back to 2021, during the Montana Republican-led legislative session. During that session, Republicans held majorities in both chambers of the legislature and the governorship. They pretty much could cram any bill they wanted down our throats. And they kind of did with bills helping to poison the environment, steal our human rights, and restrict voting rights. During their rapid-fire shitty session, the Montana GOP also planned out a little treat for our ballots in November 2022. They could have passed this garbage during the session, but they saved LR-131 for the ballot box. Why? Because they wanted to play on voters’ heart strings and push anti-abortion lies to drum up votes in 2022.
The Montana GOP wants voters to ignore their track record of selling Montana to the highest bidder and undermining everyday Montanans. Diversion time! Hmmm, how can we make Montanans big mad at Democrats? I’ve got it! Let’s tell our voters that doctors are murdering infants at birth! How can Democrats not be outraged at that? They must be monsters! Vote with us!
Just out of curiosity, how did our Great Falls legislators vote to put LR-131 on the ballot? Shocker almost the complete Republican slate voted in favor: Fitzpatrick, Galloway, Gist, Kerns, McKamey, Sheldon-Galloway, and Trebas.
What a bunch of bullshit.
Doctors already try to save their patients’ lives to every extent possible. Under Montana law, homicide charges can be filed “if a person purposely, knowingly or negligently causes the death of a premature infant birth alive, if the infant is viable.” Meanwhile, dumb ass LR-131 comes in and provides penalties of up to $50,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison. What doctor wouldn’t perform unnecessary care to avoid that? What this bill does is force doctors to perform medical treatment for incurable issues. Grieving parents having to watch their dying infant undergo hopeless, expensive medical intervention – without being able to hold their child during their last moments of life.
All for political jockeying at the polls.
Republican Representative Matt Regier (out of Kalispell) is a sponsor of this cow patty, I mean, bill. He is on record stating that the proposed referendum simply means that medical providers can’t intentionally take the life of an independent, living, breathing infant. ::Cough, cough, Bullshit::
Standard of care won’t change? Even with a threat of 20 years prison time over doctors’ heads? Tell that to the patients suffering from ectopic pregnancies in Texas and Missouri with their total abortion bans. Doctors are scared to intervene until the patient’s health is completely deteriorated, even though they know no ectopic pregnancy is survivable.
Why are Republicans so adamant about inserting themselves in people’s private medical decisions? Why are you so obsessed with uteruses, my duderuses? (Rhetorical questions of course.) We know why. They want to control us. And they aren’t afraid to lie and tap into voters’ protective instincts to do it. What a travesty if this it gets voted into law. Please vote no on LR-131.
Garage sale season is wrapping up, but bargain hunters stumbled across more than grandma’s old craft supplies at a recent “Tactical Civics Fundraiser.”
What the Funk is Tactical Civics?
Don’t be misled by the title. This group has little to do with civics and far more to due with the far-right fantasy of overthrowing our government. Members of this militia organization encourage citizens to take the law into their own hands. To the average non-cultist, this sounds a lot like encouraging neighbors to commit crimes against each other. The group gained momentum during the Covid-era, opposing mask mandates and yelling “Oppression!” when what they meant was “Minor Inconvenience!” Chief among their propaganda is an urgent message- We are not a militia! However, that’s a hard sell when chief among the group’s goals is to challenge our Democracy and send armed citizens out to enforce laws as they see fit.
Masking their true intentions is a key, well, tactic of Tactical Civics. This was evident in Great Falls’ garage sale/fundraiser, which encouraged folks to bring a canned food donation. Unfortunately for Republicans, many Great Falls citizens are actually paying attention. We can spot militia organization when we see it, and this event was clearly an attempt to recruit new members into this insane ideology.
What’s more terrifying than a militia group holding a fundraiser under the guise of helping the poor? Having 2 wealthy and well-known elected officials play host. This fundraiser was held on property owned by Republican Legislators Steven and Lola Galloway. The Galloways make no attempt to hide their crazy, with Lola Sheldon-Galloway frequently protesting outside of Planned Parenthood, threatening our school boards, and making up lies about stolen elections. Still, hosting a fundraiser for a militia group is questionable when both Steven and Lola are currently seeking re-election.
The Galloways’ continued scorn for our system of government begs the question, why the funk are they running for office when they clearly hate our country?
We recently posted an article on the Montana Republican Party Platform. Yikes. It was creepy and disturbing. Today, I figured we could take a look at the Montana Democratic Party Platform and see what the Vote Blue crowd supported during their Party Convention in July 2022. The meeting came a few weeks after the Montana Republicans and, unlike their Republican counterparts, the Democrats had near unanimous agreement to their platform.
The party added new language around Democrats’ support for the right to abortion in Montana: “Protecting a person’s right to abortion, contraception, and other reproductive healthcare.” Delegates didn’t fixate on the issue, unlike at the Montana Republican convention. As noted by Democratic Representative Laurie Bishop of Livingston, Montana Democrats have long focused on defending the right to abortion.
What about the other issues that we highlighted in our article about the Montana GOP platform? Here is a side-by-side comparison of the relevant quotes from each party’s platform.
Issue of Concern
Montana Democratic Positions
Montana Republican Positions
“We support equal treatment of all individuals before the law, regardless of race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, physical or intellectual ability, physical or mental health status, language of origin, national origin, or marital status.”
“We believe the ideal traditional family structure is a father and a mother….” “We support policies and services that preserve and strengthen the traditional family units as well as promoting the wellbeing and innocence of children and youth.”
“We are…committed to a continuum of high-quality, equitable public education opportunities with adequate state funding to develop the potential of every Montanan.”
“Adopt school choice policies.” “Facilitating programs that allow money to follow the child for education opportunities…inside or outside the public school system.”
“Montana Democrats believe we must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels through a combination of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and the development of clean, renewable energy sources.” “We believe we can achieve this goal and create – or provide transitions into – good Montana jobs.
“We…oppose any regulation on domestic energy production or consumption. We oppose any and all parts of the Green New Deal, the ‘War on Fossil Fuels’, the Paris Climate Accord…”
“We support the right of workers to establish democracy in the workplace by forming or joining independent unions for purposes of bargaining and advocating collectively.
“We believe that membership in labor bargaining units should be optional.”