FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Thankful for Montana and Much More

Big Hole River. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Once a year Americans stop for a day and give thanks, share meals with friends and family, and generally leave aside the daily hubbub that surrounds modern life for a while. Without doubt, citizens in the U.S. have much for which to be thankful — and Montanans, living in the last best place, have even more.

It doesn’t take a long trip from our home state to realize and appreciate that special feeling that comes when we return and cross the state line or deplane to the “Welcome to Montana” signs. And indeed, Montana is still a place where, if your truck or car is stuck in a snowbank, no one asks if you’re a Republican or Democrat before they help you dig out and get back on the road.

In fact, despite the fact that the political talking heads continue to tell us without pause that our nation is torn apart and locked in an internal war between Democrat and Republican partisans, the reality of daily life is much, much different. The truth is, partisan politics play a very small role in the life of most people who are working jobs, supporting their families, raising kids, taking care of aged parents and friends. Politics is the last thing most Montanans think about while walking through the woods or wading in one of our incredible rivers fishing for our world famous wild trout.

Even the political reality of the so-called “two party” system is mostly a myth. There are more people who consider themselves independents than a member of the Democrat or Republican parties. That’s even more true in Montana, where independence is not just valued, it is part and parcel of how we interact with each other and the respect we give each other for the right to have independent views, opinions and lifestyles.

Here, in the great “melting pot” of America, we are in fact one people despite our many and varied differences of race, religion, background and political affiliation, if any. And for that, especially in times of political turmoil, we should all be thankful and remain wary of the machinations of those who would divide and weaken us.

While many claim the highly charged impeachment hearings of the last two weeks are dividing the nation, the truth is that we can all be thankful we live in a country where those hearings are possible. Were it not for our constitutionally established “separate but equal” executive, judicial and legislative branches of government, there would be no way to hold those we place in high office accountable. There would be no way to ensure no one branch of government or no single individual steps outside the boundaries of the law and the rights enumerated in the constitution.

Speaking of constitutional rights, we can equally be thankful for freedom of the press, something many take for granted and which some disparage on a daily basis. None of us will come even close to agreeing with everything we read or hear or watch from the vast array of media now available, but think what it would be like if we only had the “official” media outlets of authoritarian governments.

In the midst of the turkey and trimmings, the pumpkin pie and whipped cream, take a minute to hold your loved ones close — and even spare a tolerant thought for those less loved. And don’t forget to look out the window and revel in the mountains, plains, forests and rivers of Montana, for which those of us lucky enough to live here are grateful every day.

More articles by:

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
December 06, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Eat an Impeachment
Matthew Hoh
Authorizations for Madness; The Effects and Consequences of Congress’ Endless Permissions for War
Jefferson Morley
Why the Douma Chemical Attack Wasn’t a ‘Managed Massacre’
Andrew Levine
Whatever Happened to the Obama Coalition?
Paul Street
The Dismal Dollar Dems and the Subversion of Democracy
Dave Lindorff
Conviction and Removal Aren’t the Issue; It’s Impeachment of Trump That is Essential
Ron Jacobs
Law Seminar in the Hearing Room: Impeachment Day Six
Linda Pentz Gunter
Why Do We Punish the Peacemakers?
Louis Proyect
Michael Bloomberg and Me
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Hits a Grim Threshold
Joseph Natoli
What We Must Do
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Global Poison Spring
Robert Fantina
Is Kashmir India’s Palestine?
Charles McKelvey
A Theory of Truth From the South
Walden Bello
How the Battle of Seattle Made the Truth About Globalization True
Evan Jones
BNP Before a French Court
Norman Solomon
Kerry’s Endorsement of Biden Fits: Two Deceptive Supporters of the Iraq War
Torsten Bewernitz – Gabriel Kuhn
Syndicalism for the Twenty-First Century: From Unionism to Class-Struggle Militancy
Matthew Stevenson
Across the Balkans: From Banja Luka to Sarajevo
Thomas Knapp
NATO is a Brain Dead, Obsolete, Rabid Dog. Euthanize It.
Forrest Hylton
Bolivia’s Coup Government: a Far-Right Horror Show
M. G. Piety
A Lesson From the Danes on Immigration
Ellen Isaacs
The Audacity of Hypocrisy
Monika Zgustova
Chernobyl, Lies and Messianism in Russia
Manuel García, Jr.
From Caesar’s Last Breath to Ours
Binoy Kampmark
Going to the ICJ: Myanmar, Genocide and Aung San Suu Kyi’s Gamble
Jill Richardson
Marijuana and the Myth of the “Gateway Drug”
Muzamil Bhat
Srinagar’s Shikaras: Still Waters Run Deep Losses
Gaither Stewart
War and Betrayal: Change and Transformation
Farzana Versey
What Religion is Your Nationalism?
Clark T. Scott
The Focus on Trump Reveals the Democrat Model
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Do Bernie’s Supporters Know What “Not Me, Us” Means? Does Bernie?
Peter Harley
Aldo Leopold, Revisited
Winslow Myers
A Presidential Speech the World Needs to Hear
Christopher Brauchli
The Chosen One
Jim Britell
Misconceptions About Lobbying Representatives and Agencies
Ted Rall
Trump Gets Away with Stuff Because He Does
Mel Gurtov
Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and the Insecurity of China’s Leadership
Nicky Reid
Dennis Kucinich, Tulsi Gabbard and the Slow Death of the Democratic Delusion
Tom H. Hastings
Cross-Generational Power to Change
John Kendall Hawkins
1619: The Mighty Whitey Arrives
Julian Rose
Why I Don’t Have a Mobile Phone
David Yearsley
Parasitic Sounds
Elliot Sperber
Class War is Chemical War
December 05, 2019
Colin Todhunter
Don’t Look, Don’t See: Time for Honest Media Reporting on Impacts of Pesticides
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail