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Demand an End To the Scourge of Socialism at the Montana Legislature

Imagine this socialist horror descending on Montana: a pack of people who only work 90 days every other year receiving generous health care benefits at the expense of other hardworking Montanans. While many work hard during those 90 days, others spend their time napping, playing video games on Facebook, or taking vacations to Texas while they should be at work.

This, according to Montana Republicans, would be a nightmare, undermining the “self-reliance,” “self-respect,” and “work ethic” of these poor souls cursed with the knowledge that if they were to take ill or get injured, they could see a medical professional and get better.

By Lenin’s beard, this scourge has already afflicted our state, as 150 people at the Montana Legislature are granted not only access to quality insurance, but even a free laptop (most likely approved by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Mao Zedong), and even a vaguely defined constituent fund that has no accountability measures built in.

Flush with this unearned largesse, Republican legislators have clearly lost the self-respect that would keep people from proposing a 70% increase in their ill-gotten gains, calling for Montanans to pay for a wall Mexico is supposed to build, or even demanding that pretend to listen to a sales tax proposal that was dead on arrival.

We can already see just how devastating the impact has been on many of these legislators. Stripped of their dignity, they cosplay as Confederate soldiers, shill for out-of-state interests that want to take our public lands, and spread hours on Fox News and anti-vaccine websites, desperate to find meaning in lives shattered by their own weakness.

Some turn to even darker paths, selling their self-respect to white nationalists and even Greg Gianforte, so accustomed to the handouts that pretend to like the New Jersey millionaire long enough to cash one of the tiny checks he deigns to send their way.

Worst of all, some have lost so much sense of self-worth that they engage in shady business dealings with the likes of Ryan Zinke.

It’s clear they only way to pull these lost souls from the devastation of humane, affordable access to health care would be to implement a costly, inefficient system of work requirements and “community benefit” (ideally run at great expense by an out-of-state corporation) to monitor the hours these legislators put in serving the people of Montana.

But this specter of Fidel Castro extends even further in Montana, and more must be done.

As a Helenan who spends a fair amount of time in bars and restaurants during the session, it’s hard to believe that some of these miscreants aren’t abusing the public trust and spending money meant for their pay on alcohol. As someone who spends more than his fair share reading the bills they propose, it’s impossible to believe they’re not drinking, perhaps more than most humans can endure.

These legislators, unencumbered by the need to work for the right to see a doctor, are also given their state paychecks without submitting urine and blood samples to ensure they are not abusing substances on the state dole.

It’s not enough to demand proof of work; we must protect the dignity of Montana’s legislators by forcing them to undergo humiliating invasions of their privacy to protect their dignity. What could be more humane?

I urge the Montana Legislature to take up this cause without delay. The self-respect of the Republican caucus depends on it.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-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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