Saturday, March 02, 2024

Character counts

| May 24, 2023 1:00 AM

Throughout world history there have been people who called for a master power to make decisions for the majority. There are numerous examples of nations with one-party rule. For most history has called it tyranny,

An exception followed in the UK is the parliamentary form where voters elect a party or fire a party as a group. We don’t. We must look at candidates as individuals.

I began working for Republican causes as a teenager. Later the party’s leadership told us we were the party of the big tent and we could handle diversity. The new folks coming into Montana and our big tent began almost immediately calling others in the party by their favorite curse word — RINO (Republican In Name Only).

Republicans were the liberals when America outlawed slavery. In the last decade, the GOP drove out many conservatives and now meets the definition of those who hug the right edge of the political highway. True conservatives know character counts. Where there is one-party rule, the principles of the republic suffer. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely! We are there.

We disrespect proven and patriotic leaders. Emerging leadership is immediately chastised for having the audacity to put first American political principles and the neighbors who elected them. That doesn’t translate well to working objectively with other perspectives. Disregarding the reason for the American Revolution: taxation without representation.

The Montana Legislature just deprived Missoula of a vote because its representative hurt some feelings. I’ve heard some in the GOP said the chaos was worth it. Really?

On the other hand, with a long record of public service, Bob Brown has represented America in teaching developing nations those same principles. Is it time for a review here at home in Montana?

How quickly we forget that the political extremes end up looking exactly the same. They kill and injure people and disrespect everyone who believes in democracy.

Montana was historically purple! With my full respect to Indigenous peoples, the territory grew as a direct result of the lure of gold and the threat and later devastation of the Civil War. Slavery was previously outlawed in the territory. With only common law to guide them, Sanders, Edgerton and others wrestled Democracy from chaos.

A century later it was still bad manners to ask too many questions about another’s accent, perceived bank balance, or previous lifestyle. We intentionally split our representation, even sending the first woman to Congress.

Keeping a balance both at home and in Congress put Montana before dogma. We were the frontier and we had a chance to fix locally what the East had mismanaged.

We still do.

Donna Maddux, Whitefish

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