Facebook Post: 2020-05-14T19:17:07

I must be in a mood today…

Montanan’s, by and large, have no idea what it’s like to not be Montanan. What I mean is, the majority of us have never lived anywhere outside of Montana. This isn’t a criticism, just a reality check. Because of the state we live in, the circumstances of our birth, we have it really damn good. But it also means that we have no damn clue what it means to live elsewhere.

Our idea of a large city is Billings, population ~100,000 people. that’s total, not per square mile. Our idea of diversity is knowing the last name of the family that owns the local Chinese or Mexican restaurant. We might, possibly maybe, know a few native Americans, maybe even a non-white(non-Native) person or two. Maybe. Odds are really damn good we’ve never had dinner with them.

This is small town Montana. Hell, that’s Billings MT, more often than not. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s a really small perspective on a much larger world.

And, if I’m being fair, I could reverse that. People in Chicago or New York, have no damn clue what’s it’s like to walk down Main Street Lewistown MT. A population density less than 1000 people per block? Inconceivable! What do you mean you don’t know what a Project is? It really does go both ways and it really leads to misunderstandings.

For example, in small town Montana, there’s no reason why you can’t go to the local school and cast your vote. Sure, you might have to stand in line for as long as 30 minutes, if you’re voting after work at the Metra. It sucks and you’ll complain about it, but it really isn’t that big a deal. For most people, it doesn’t even take that long. In a typical Montana town, you’ll be standing in line with two or three people you know personally. Even if you don’t, odds are 98%+ that they’re white and you’ll get along with them just fine for the few minutes you spend in line talking about the day. They’re just like you.

That’s Montana.

You’ll never consider the idea that local or state politicians might close your polling place in order to force you to drive 20+ miles away to vote because they want to ensure that you don’t vote. Heck, most of us don’t even consider the idea of not owning a vehicle, and never have, because the concept of only being able to take a bus everywhere we go doesn’t exit here. We’ll never experience the practice of changing polling places and times, just to prevent our vote because we’re not white. Not at all. We have no damn idea even what that even means. In fact, odds are half decent that when this is brought up in the news or social media, we’ll either ignore it completely, or deny that it happens at all. The fact that we named the practice, Gerrymandering, after a guy that defined the concept, means not a damn thing to the average Montanan- because the very idea is something we’ve never experienced. We’ve got it pretty good over here.

But it does happen. Just not to us.

So when our state Secretary, Corey Stapleton, talks about voter fraud, talks about people(implying mostly Democrats) cheating on their mail in ballots, Montanans by and large have no damn clue what he’s really talking about. When Mr Stapleton insinuates that mail in voting is an absolutely critical issue, we don’t question him because we don’t know any better. We’re white, we’re small town America, and of course people are trying to cheat the system. Sure, not us, but somebody is! And we believe it when our President echoes that. Because, why wouldn’t we?

Yeah, why wouldn’t we? Well, for starters, because it’s bullshit(please pardon my vulgarity). Even in heavy Democratic districts(we don’t have Democrats in Montana, or so I’m told), the instance of voter fraud is single digits or less. The odds of neighbor Dave cheating at the weekly Friday night poker game are, generally speaking, higher than the odds of voter fraud in a given precinct. It really is that non-existent. But Montanans wouldn’t know that, we don’t have that problem. But we’re told we do…

So why does our Secretary of State, why does our President, claim it’s such an issue? Real Montanans would hate to be manipulated like that. Real Montanans would absolutely hate the idea that members of our government would be lying to us in order to take away the rights of us Citizens. Right?

By Dan Granot

I chose the Shorter Whitman because of his work, "Song of Myself" and because of my self-deprecating sense of humor. I am under no illusion that I can write successful essays or poetry, but I have been known to write them anyway.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *