To celebrate the week of Thanksgiving, a holiday they no doubt mythologize as the heartwarming tale of a band of indigenous people welcoming a group of bedraggled, hungry refugees with open arms, the 55th Bedwetting Bigot Brigade of the Montana Militia (whose members also serve in the Legislature every two years) has called on Governor Steve Bullock to illegally block imaginary refugees from coming to Montana to flee a very real genocide.
This band of patriots led by Lt. Colonel Fred “Craven” Thomas, wrote a letter to Governor Bullock asking that the governor ignore the Constitution, Christian morality, and basic human decency to block Syrian refugees from the United States. In the letter, they write that Bullock should:
use all legal means to block or resist the placement of Syrian refugees in our great state at this time.
Of course, one of the measures of a great state should be its moral standing in the world and how it treats the most disadvantaged. The “leaders” of a great state should not, in the face of inhumane cruelty, let their fear of widows and orphans lead them to demagogue while lives are on the line. That some of these cowards voted to block the illusory threat of Sharia law in Montana while taking the position that others across the world should face its harshest imposition moves beyond cowardice to craven gutlessness, and lays bare the fear that drives their ideology.
Lest you think it’s pure cowardice motivating this band of patriots, it’s worth pointing out that they are driven by naked bigotry as well. Speaking to the Bozeman Chronicle Major Matthew “Faint Heart” Monforton explained that it wasn’t just cowardice that caused him to sign the letter, but his ethnocentric, bigoted view of the world:
“When we look at Europe, there’s been decades of immigration of Muslims who refuse to assimilate,” the Bozeman lawmaker said. “They brought misogyny and Jew-hatred. I don’t want to see that in Montana or this country.”
Now that’s rich. The Republican members of the Montana Legislature, who want to strip women of access to healthcare, who cast sexist vote after sexist vote, who compare women to cattle, are concerned about misogynist attitudes? A party whose members regularly say the most offensive things about people based on sexuality, race, gender, and religion, has the audacity to complain about anti-Semitic attitudes?
What makes a state “great” is not the number of its citizens who can carry guns in churches and bars, nor is it the patriotic mewling of cowards who mouth support for Christian and humanist values while running in fear when presented with a chance to act upon them. Bigots argued that my ancestors were not welcome in America in the 1800s, and bigots sent Jews to their deaths in the years before and during World War 2. We have a shameful history of blocking people from these shores, and it’s simply astonishing that the Montana Republican Party, rather than learning from that deplorable past, wants to embrace it, and prevent human beings from seeking safety for their children.
Republicans are quick to decry the acts of ISIS and other organizations as terrorism, to use stories about beheadings and other violence for politics and fundraising, but when presented with a chance to save a few lives, they cower in the bunkers of their bigotry and fear. For people who blather endlessly about “letting the terrorists win,” it’s hard to imagine any better way to facilitate their aims.