I’m not sure what Republicans means when they endlessly talk about “Montana values.” Perhaps the concept means something different at the Yellowstone Club, but for this lifelong Montanan, the concept means respecting our fellow human beings and expecting them to contribute to the communities we live in.
While Steve Daines seems to believe that Montanans will celebrate racist attacks and those who dishonestly disparage those with whom they disagree, Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins understands that is not who we are. He has a refreshing faith in our better nature and won’t, like Daines so often does, seek to exploit the worst parts of it.
In a press release issued today, his campaign made clear that questioning the patriotism of political opponents is neither an American nor a Montana value:
While Mayor Collins believes there is space to challenge the policies and positions of candidates and public officials, using the tactic of questioning the patriotism of anyone who expresses new ideas is not acceptable.
In contrast with Steve Daines, who leapt to defend a transparently racist assault on four women of color, Collins affirmed what this country needs to relearn, lest we slip back the abuses of the McCarthy era: baseless attacks focused on race, gender, religion, or political affiliation have no place in our politics or the Senate.
And they have no place in our state.
Montanans have a choice over the next few years, one embodied by the approaches taken by Senator Daines and Mayor Collins. We can become a fearful people who assume the worst of our fellow humans, demonize people for the color of their skin and their country of origin, or we can work to emulate the life Wilmot Collins has, one of service to his adopted country and his community.
It’s clear that Steve Daines has no idea what Montanans want or what “Montana values” are. Next November—and until then—let’s make sure to show him what they really are and that we’re “tired of listening” to his retrograde, racist views best left to history.
Why not visit Wilmot’s web site today and chip in to his campaign to restore optimism and decency to our political system?