As of Saturday morning, Montana had 129 cases of Coronavirus/COVID-19, with 46 of the cases in Gallatin County. 1/3rd of Montana’s cases in one county.
Gallatin County is also home to 2/3rds of our Federal political team: Greg Gianforte and Steve Daines.
Here’s another fun Congressional stat for you: Out of 535 members, Steve Daines is the 36 wealthiest ($6.9 million) and Greg Gianforte is the wealthiest ($135.7 million). Methodology and some background on the calculations here (reporting October 2019). Two of the wealthiest Congressional members call Bozeman, Montana home. As Montanans begin to face the pandemic of our lifetimes, thank goodness our hardest hit community to date has these resident multimillionaires!
This morning, Steve Daines was kind enough to email me some tips on how I can help:
We need to rally together to help one another get through the Coronavirus outbreak. Here’s how you can help!
You know what Steve “$6.9 million” Daines? You first.
And Greg “$135.7 million” Gianforte? You next.
Montanans are hustling. We are facing an unprecedented level of unemployment (read: until the federal assistance hits, many families are going without paychecks or fractional paychecks), hospitals are writing directives on who to shut off first, supplies are being gathered (ventilators anyone?), volunteer groups are arranging for grocery and supply drop offs to suffering neighbors and strangers in their towns, churches are donating left and right, and the social safety net has become average-everyday-everyman citizens digging deep into their pockets to keep the world turning.
Every town’s social media is filled with reminders:
- Shop local, keep local businesses alive
- Order local takeout from local restaurants and support the workers
- Dig deep and don’t charge rent to tenants
- Here’s a GoFundMe so Bob down the street doesn’t have his water disconnected
- Don’t donate to my political campaign, donate to a local food bank
- Donate any masks to hospitals, gowns, other supplies
It is up to us, the Average Joe, to keep our local economies alive. To donate. To hold up our society as it quickly disintegrates after three weeks of a pandemic. People giving groceries to friends, strangers on the internet. The generosity of our communities at this time has been one of the few bright points of this crisis: how Montanans came together to keep their Mom & Pop Main Street businesses running, their neighbors alive, their compromised populations safe by staying the hell home, their teachers supported, and so much more.
My family’s budget has been spent down to the bottom in discretionary spending: eating delivery and pickup from local businesses, donations and gifts, local stores, giveaways, you name it. And I am not the outlier, I am the average: everyone is doing this.
And look: Yesterday Steve Daines supported a local Gallatin County business:
And he’s ready for the kudos to come rolling in.
Screw that practically empty gesture, Steve. You, Greg, and your millions of dollars could make a powerful impact on the hardest hit county in Montana. Shortages at Gallatin County hospitals could disappear with a wave of your millions. Emergency facilities built, staffed, and materials/supplies paid for. Gallatin County food bank could be fully sustained and ensuring not a single family goes hungry. Your money could literally be a magic wand for the terror happening right now. But Naked Noodle selfie is all you’ve got.
Greg Gianforte can’t even give us a local restaurant selfie. For all his millions, for all the good he could do in the most dangerous American pandemic of his lifetime, he’s invisible.
Money doesn’t solve all problems – but for the increasingly deadly problem of Coronavirus/COVID-19, money will definitely save lives. Greg Gianforte could single-handedly reduce suffering and death in Gallatin County. Instead, average Montanans are the ones digging deep; the ones propping up the locals.
If Coronavirus teaches us anything, perhaps it will finally lay to rest that 1980’s economic fallacy that the economy is propped up by the mythical job creators and millionaires at the top who supposedly sustain us all. Now we witness in real time what bullshit trickle-down economics is. There is no trickle-down from Daines or Gianforte to the county where they built their wealth; there is only hoarding and selfishness while the middle class steps up (as they always do) to love thy neighbor.
Perhaps it will take a pandemic to wake up Montanans to the selfishness, greed, and bullshit they continually elect to office.
Couple of points at the end here:
- I love the Naked Noodle. This isn’t about you. I’ve enjoyed many a meal there, and I look forward to doing so again.
- Greg and Steve: If you’ve made a giant contribution to the Gallatin County community (not your private foundation, not your private school, not only your church – for the public), I will happily print the best retraction. All of the kudos will be lavished upon you. Seriously. Make that donation so I can sing your praises for helping out your neighbors.
- Everyone else: Please keep doing what you’re doing. Thank you for all of the donations to friends, family, neighbors. Thank you for keeping your Main Streets alive. When we emerge on the other side of this, it was because of you (the average, the stockroom employees, the janitors, the food preparers, the first responders, the hospital staff at all levels). Thank you for stepping up everyday.