Montana Politics

Why Does Jake Eaton Want to Disenfranchise My Students?

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Initially, I was angry with Jake Eaton and the Montana Republican Party in theory. It was greatly upsetting to learn that the Republican Party in Montana had so little respect for voters that it would actively try to remove them from the rolls, rather than educate them. Admittedly, it would be challenging to educate voters when your agenda is bankrupting the future for the sake of the greed of a few corporate masters, but I honestly never believed that the Montana Republicans would stoop so low as to act like their counterparts nationwide who have used every tool at their disposal to disenfranchise voters.

My anger moved from the theoretical to the personal this evening, when I had the chance to look at the list of voters who have been challenged. No fewer than 20 students I have worked with as a teacher at Helena and Capital High are on the challenge list. I’ve contacted as many as I can, to let them know that they absolutely have the right to vote in Montana, and the response I have received thus far is telling: these young people are exactly the kind of people we want to be voting—thoughtful, informed, and active members of their communities. All I’ve spoken to are college students or recent graduates who took the controversial step of forwarding their mail while they were at college. You know, behaving responsibly.

So, Jake, I want you to understand that my anger isn’t partisan posturing or trying to score points—the kind of cheap stunt that you specialize in. My anger is because you have chosen to try to intimidate and disenfranchise some spectacular human beings, right at the moment when they are going to choose whether or not to become involved in the political process. I have faith that my former students will vote, in spite of your efforts, but you should be ashamed of yourself for trying to diminish their interest in becoming a part of the political process.

You are a shameful hack, and if your party had any decency left, they would fire your ass immediately. I won’t hold my breath waiting for decency to make an appearance at the Montana GOP headquarters, though.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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