I'm surprised that I remember that day every year. Never forget, and wut wut! It's most likely just the strong association of that event and the other eruption of graduating high school in a small Montana town. Maybe it's the lingering trauma of the horrible experience.
No. I found the whole thing fascinating, from beginning to end. It was horrible in it's own way, but even that got filtered through a 17 year old male reality. 'Wow, a mountain blew up. This planet is AmAzing, and dangerous. I hope no one was hurt.'
Other things have consumed my thoughts and deep feelings much more than a volcano that blew 32 years ago. I've documented most of it elsewhere, to where even I don't care to look for it. I don't remember most of those dates. I have a hard time remembering what year the great Yellowstone fires happened in. Yet, I remember May 18th every year. That's the day a mountain blew up, and spread ash as far as Minneapolis.
Maybe I remember it because I live on the edge of the world's largest Super volcano. Could be ...
Every once in a while you encounter a blog site where the author truly loves what they are writing about. David Sherman, when writing about Greater Falls, Prairie Mary, D. Gregory Smith at From Eternity To Here, Boing Boing, Wil Wheaton, some very few political blogs ...
Even rarer still is encountering the blog where the writer not only loves their subject but writes for those who can't help but love it as well. Whether the readers love Montana as much as Nameless Range or not doesn't matter. This author inspires a love of subject, a love of Montana. In just several short weeks, I find myself checking the site several times a day, almost desperate for a new post.
There's a bunch of folks all puffed up with 'principles' thinking that voters are uninformed, and candidates have an easy job manipulating that lack of knowledge. Really? Let's find out how much the intelligencia actually know about pleasing people who live and know where and what they live.
She tries, except the link she thinks she posted is broken, not that it would have proven me a liar in any case at all. So sad. You failed, kitten. My response:
J’girl, your link doesn’t work. I didn’t take D, Gregory to task. That’s a lie. I took you to task for exactly what you wrote. Please do try again.
Now this is kind of funny:
I’d expect that someone being called a liar – twice – would actually make some effort to prove me wrong.
Expecting someone to react to lies is a wingnut kind of thing, and grossly arrogant. Faux News does that. Aaron Flint does that. Rush Limbaugh does that. The Havre Daily Corrupter does that. Jhwygirl does that. Just saying …
Given the behavior of the drama squad at 4 and 20, I expect this entire exchange to be deleted. If it isn't then good on them. If it is, at least it is preserved here.
Just like the U of M, and the city of Missoula, and the Puritopian illiterati these people need to get a fricking grip.
I received an email from someone I do not know chiding me for my 'defense of Steve Bullock' in my last post. Since it appears that it was sent in good faith, I will not repost it or expose the author here. It did raise a few questions or concerns that have been occupying my thoughts here of late, so I'll post what response I can.
First, I was not defending Steve Bullock. Some of my opinions were posted yesterday, so allow me to flesh them out here. (Wait. You don't have to allow it because this is my forum.) My opinion is that Bullock's response to the question was fueled by surprise at being asked a question that doesn't much pass his radar. He responded as a candidate to a question he didn't expect, about an issue that is not very big to him, and informed himself only by his legal training. A Governor should not be in the business of overturning the will of his constituents. Those who think the response thoughtless have every right and reason to do so, especially as it affects them personally. I'm not defending that response at all. In truth, I thought it kind of thoughtless as well. To me, it was also understandable, and not of much substance. That is not a defense, it's rather pointing out the obvious.
The rest of the email can be boiled down to one question, in a couple of parts. 'How can you write that GBLT marriage rights are of no concern to you when it is a matter of civil rights?' That is actually a fine question, the one that demanded this response, one I have no problem answering when seen for it's parts.
First, how can marriage equality not affect me? Back in 2004, when Montana was considering it's defense of hetero-normity amendment, we were all inundated with the rather 'pragmatic' argument that gay weddings would cheapen, kill, blaspheme and destroy traditional marriage and our moral standing in the world. The correct and appropriate response to that was also very pragmatic and honest. Nope, gay people getting married won't influence or affect me one single iota. Not even a smidgen. Yet now that the amendment became a part of the Constitution of Montana, I am being asked to admit that it does affect me. No. No it doesn't. Whether or not GBLT people have wedding rights will not change my life at all. Not one bit. I'm not doing a 180 on this. My answer in 2004 is the same as my answer in 2012. It won't affect me either way. However, there are those that it will affect in very dramatic ways. And that is the root of single issue voting.
Those who feel (rightly or wrongly) that a single issue will affect them deeply given it's outcome are single issue voters and by all correct thinking, they should be. Where problems arise (one of many ways) is when single issue voters use that issue as an appeal to universalize voting itself. A bigger problem is when multi-issue voters use the single as a rallying cry to attack the person, rather than the issue. Witness this: Dave Strohmaier put out an advertisement promoting his support of marriage equality in Montana. The self-appointed liberal watchdog of Montana living in Colorado pulled his best Admiral Ackbar impression and warned us all that Strohmaier was likely deceitful, using a wedge issue to manipulate our votes. What's funny to me is this, a politician bringing up a wedge issue designed for single issue voters is to be suspect, but a poor response about a single issue thrown at a politician is cause for sharpening pitchforks and lighting torches (with all due non-violence, of course.) It seems to me there is something wrong with that. Claiming that something affects all people when it doesn't really isn't true. It often doesn't even ring true on reading.
What is wrong is confusion. It is using a single issue in effort to universalize it to all voters. That is what has happened with GBLT rights. Gay marriage is not the actual issue. The issue is civil rights. On that score, I don't think Bullock failed, despite himself. Ted Kennedy famously argued in the Senate that if rights were to mean anything, they could not be open to the will of voters, and especially could not be defined or denied by the states in this unified Republic. I think, my opinion, that many if not most, Puritopians have forgotten that simple truth. What the AG or Governor in Montana argues for or does not means little to the rights we all should have.
Yes, that affects me, just not on any level that will actually affect my life or the way I live it. Sad paradox, isn't it? Boiled down, GBLT rights are a matter of principle. Civil rights are a matter of principle. But when the rubber meets the road, telling anyone that a principle that will not affect them in even the smallest bit is more important than causes and effects that will alter their life is a poor strategy. It is begging one to agree with the universal nature of a cause that really isn't universal at all.
I'm not a single issue voter. I've yet to encounter a single issue that affects me so very much that I will pin my hopes on electoral success. At no point do I or will I fault those who do. Nor will I be told that a single issue defines my life or beliefs just because it might be falsely universalized.
I don't fault people for being single issue voters, when the issue they favor is one that affects them quite personally. It's all the better when that issue is not a betrayal of other beliefs they might have. I will never support people voting against their own self-interest, so it would be foolish to chide them when they vote for that best self interest.
D. Gregory Smith will not support Steve Bullock in his candidacy for the Governorship of Montana. It looks like he's got a very good reason not to do so. I admit to not having paid due attention to Heather Margolis in the primary, but will do so in the future. That was inspired by Smith's impassioned plea for equality.
Notice please, that doesn't mean I don't have disagreement with D. Gregory. I actually kind of do. In my view of the law, the Constitution and democratic representation, I don't see that any Governor or Gubernatorial candidate should have the desire or will to overturn what has been clearly stated by the people. They can foster a change in the Constitution, but not demand it. That would be no better than a legislature that overturns the people's will to have access to medical marijuana, now would it? CI 96 was passed by a significant majority of Montanans. As awful as it is, it is the law that the executive must deal with because the people wrote it into the Constitution. A Governor cannot and should not be able to overturn the will of the people in this state. Unlike the medical marijuana initiative, this was a constitutional change, which can only be overturned by the people's vote or a federal judicial declaration of violation of rights. I'm hoping the latter happens sometime in the near future.
Bullock's statement was not a support of GBLT individuals, and I understand that clearly. But it was a statement of support for Montana law as passed by the people. No one has a microscope to see into Bullock's soul such that we can parse his statement to be what we want, or to see what he meant by:
I do not favor changing the constitution
To be honest, I don't favor changing the Montana Constitution either, by non-Constitutional means. The Governor should have no such power. I think Bullock, as AG, knows this. Maybe he favors CI 96, and maybe he doesn't. That isn't what was asked of him. Personally, if this issue directly affected me, I would state exactly what D. Gregory Smith did. As it stands, Margolis should be considered, and that's a good thing.
But then the Puritopians hoist their banner of "All or Nothing"! One Montana blogger tweeted today:
Bullock's anti-equality message means less votes for governor of Montana. JUST SAY NO TO THE BULLOCK
Oh yeah, that's helpful. Bullock pushed Gays to the back of the bus, and so he is evil and must be reviled. Like Joan of Arc, holy writ must be observed, and Bullock spoke words of evil. Stand against the Bullock! Do any folk remember what happened to Joan of Arc?
There is no holy writ, save that doing the right thing must be recognized and considered. Calling for people to "Just say no to the Bullock" is stupid, and actually could well stand against the desires that caused Smith to make his decision in the first place. Calling for crucifixion of one who might favor your desires while allowing the opponents to gather strength is exactly what lead to the fiery end of many crusades, including that of Joan of Arc. The Puritopians want it all, in one fell swoop, and will be sorely disappointed when that doesn't happen. Worse still, they will thwart the desires of those who actually have a dog in this hunt, like D. Gregory Smith does.
The difference between "I will not" and "you must not" should be resoundingly clear. Sadly, for the Puritopians, it never really is.