Just When You Thought the Montana Secretary of State’s Office Couldn’t Be Worse

Photo from MT SoS web page

We’ve talked a lot about the incompetence, self-promotion and graft at the Montana Secretary of State’s office. We’ve talked about the culture of bullying that has driven career professionals and other workers out in droves. We’ve even alluded to the strange personal relationship between Secretary Stapleton and the Svengali in the office who seems to have either convinced Stapleton that he should run for higher office or believes he can win one.

But perhaps we’ve underdeveloped the bitter ignorance and bigotry that runs through the office. Yesterday, at an event to celebrate the anniversary of the Constitution, Deputy Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen offered this hot take about the document. From the Independent Record:

Deputy Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen reflected on what the Constitution means to her personally, calling it a “God-inspired document.” She said she believes the Constitution “has never been more challenged” by globalization and social media, and added that English was the “founding language” of the United States and that immigrants are welcome here if the follow “proper” channels and do not try to “change anything.”

At first, I didn’t understand what Jacobsen meant when she asserted that “globalization” was threatening the Constitution, but her language in the rest of her remarks made her bigotry evident. What Jacobsen wants us to believe is that the United States should only reflect her vision of the country, one that seems awfully pale and monolingual.

I’m not sure that my ancestors, some of whom arrived well before the Constitution was written, followed those “proper channels” when they arrived, but I’m pretty damn sure that they didn’t ask permission from the people who had been here for thousands of years before they arrived.

I am quite sure, though, that Jacobsen doesn’t know that the US constitution was inspired in part by the unwritten constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy. Or that some of the Founding Fathers made the same bigoted arguments for the US being an English-only country way back in the 1780s. Or that the document she called “God-inspired” literally excluded slaves of African descent and American Indians from citizenship and the rights of human beings.

I’m also reasonably sure that Jacobsen doesn’t know that seven of the people who signed the Constitution were first-generation immigrants to the United States. One, Alexander Hamilton, is the central figure of a popular musical and biography that pretty convincingly make the case that, when it comes to changing things in the United States that need to be changed, immigrants “get the job done.”

And as for the bigoted, xenophobic, and ignorant claim that immigrants should not try to change anything, one should probably tell Ms. Jacobsen that immigrants to this country:

  • Massively contribute to the U.S. economy.
  • Serve in our armed forces.
  • Staff our hospitals.
  • Revolutionized physics.
  • Invented Google
  • Revolutionized fashion forever.
  • And helped “change” almost everything about this country.

Jacobsen should stick to her real abilities: stonewalling public records requests, standing in for Secretary Stapleton when he is too afraid to face a Legislative inquiry, and letting state funds pay for “work trips” that look a lot more like vacations than critical, official work. She should focus on those and leave her bigoted views at home until we can finally remove Stapleton and his cronies from the Secretary’s office.

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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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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  • Would this be the same Christi Jacobsen who took the heat for Stapleton at a Legislative Audit Committee’s review of Corey’s “misuse” of a state-owned pick up truck? “Stapleton was in eastern Montana on a previously scheduled trip and was unable to attend Wednesday’s meeting,” according to Jacobsen and reported in the Helena IR.

    I kind of felt sorry for Jacobsen having to cover for Stapleton’s malfeasance. Now, after reading this post, not so much.

  • I do believe that someone should sit her down with Wikipedia and force her to read aloud about Joseph Proteus Steinmetz and Nikola Tesla at a minimum. Both of them came here and did not just sit quietly. They went about CHANGING much in the field of electronics. Does she even know about any of their accomplishments?
    Steinmetz made GE into an electrical development powerhouse.
    Tesla challenge Edison as to the best way to transmit electrical power over long distances. If he had not been successful, modern electrical transmission would still be only good for short distances.
    Additional information about the role that the Iroquois played in the development of the Constitution can be found by visiting Skä•noñh – Great Law of Peace Center just outside Syracuse New York.

  • I see that have her face on the new self promotion PSA commercials. Probably getting her ready to run for another political office

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