Thanks to These Folks Our State’s Opening is Probably Pushed Back

Photograph by Don Pogreba. From his car because he respects the opinion of medical scientists.

Correction: Senator Kenneth Bogner was misidentified as attending the rally with his running mate, Dr. Al Olszewski. A statement by the Senator was made on a public message board on social media, and friends of the campaign noted that Senator Bogner turned over the campaign bus to Dr. Olszewski in Big Timber (according to a comment on the MT Liberty Rally group on Facebook- also public). The author regrets the error of including Senator Bogner in this post. 

In 2004 Hunter S. Thompson published the final book of his lifetime Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness. HST’s modern history take from the sports desk at ESPN wove politics, sports, culture, and more into a tapestry of the failings of modern America. If only he could see how far we have fallen.

The word RUBE defined as:

… an insulting word for a person considered uneducated or uncultured. Your average country bumpkin is also a rube. Calling someone a rube is another way of saying, “You sound like an idiot and you don’t know what you’re talking about.” This word implies a lack of sophistication, manners, education, and culture. Carnys and gamblers also call easy marks “rubes”; people who can be taken advantage of.

And after viewing the photos coming out of the Montana Liberty Rally today in Helena, the word “rube” immediately came to mind.


If you need some background on the Montana Liberty Rally, give their Facebook Group a look; 1,200 rubes eating up a constant diet of misinformation, science denial, and conspiracy theories.

Press puts the number of attendees at today’s Liberty Rally in Helena between 250-300. Photos of the event show almost no social distancing, few masks, and almost no health precautions (but the “End the Medical Junta!” hyperbole sign at least gave me a chuckle).

What should sadden and anger Montanans most about this rally is its blatant disregard for this state’s health, and the first responders, essential workers, and health care officials on the front lines. Intentionally gathering, intentionally standing next to other humans and breathing those particles that can travel multiple feet, and then traveling home to their own counties, neighborhoods, and communities. Every single human who attended this rally is now a Typhoid Mary returning to their community.

These rubes extended a giant middle finger to the small community of Shelby, MT as it strives to stay ahead and not lose more citizens to COVID-19.

To see the number of political campaigns reflected in these pictures was a sad commentary on a Party politicizing this health crisis to promote an agenda willfully ignorant of science and medicine. The following campaigns could be seen in the photos: Dr. Al Olszewski, Scott Tuxbury, Joe Dooling, and Debra Lamm (please send me the names of any other confirmed campaigns attending to

These candidates, campaign staff, and volunteers will be returning to their communities at the end of this rally, along with the rest of the participants who clustered together on Sunday.

Submitted photo: What all will Dr. Al touch with those gloves?


You would think a doctor would know better and would listen to the overwhelming consensus of his fellow medical doctors, but you would be wrong. (The Montana Post has previously discussed this doctor and his running mate’s rejection of Medicaid Expansion during the most recent Legislative session; both of these candidates -current legislators!- are taking advantage of the rubes for political points and photo ops.) Soon Dr. Al Olszewski will return to the Kalispell region and his rural constituents, Debra Lamm will return to Livingston; Scott Tuxbury to Missoula; and all of the various campaign staff/volunteers will return to their communities and social circles.  And they will be bringing the shared molecules of these 300 people with them. 

In gambling circles, identifying the rube at the table can make for a very lucrative evening. Which one of these players can be taken advantage of – probably without their knowledge even? The Liberty rally fervor as it moves through the country appeared on the surface to be an organic, grassroots movement of Constitutionally-minded folks. But then it was discovered that the websites for the various rallies were centrally organized, Americans for Prosperity are involved, and there are ties to Betsy DeVos and her family funding the rallies. This isn’t grassroots, this is Astroturfing:

… the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g., political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants.

Montanans are being taken for a ride by fringe MTGOP, a well-funded PAC, and by poorly-sourced notions of patriotism and freedom; this political party has identified the rubes. And thanks to this statewide spread of these germs, these 300 folks probably set back our state re-opening process. Bravo. Accomplishing the complete opposite of their goals.

If you are interested in taking my advice on stepping away from being a “mark” of the MTGOP: listen to the experts, people. Medical consensus matters. Scientists matter. Accurate and peer-reviewed source material matters. The reality that Montana’s COVID-19 death rate is one of the lowest in the entire country MATTERS. We didn’t get to that point by ignoring science, by gathering together and breathing on each other – we got to it by being cautious and listening to the experts.


Now I’m as concerned as the next Montanan about the challenges of limited freedoms and our rights. And these are conversations we need to continue having. Were all of these 300 protestors and 1,200 online supporters just as supportive of indigenous pipeline protests? How about African-American and Black Lives Matter protests? Moms Demand Action? I’m being facetious. I’ve seen your right-wing posts maligning these protests and these civil rights actions.

So with your rights in mind and your ability to protest today: Why not have a rally while practicing social distance? Why not all wear masks? Why not keep your bodies, your constituents, your neighbors safe? Why intentionally ignore medical advice?

Newsflash: You can exercise your rights and freedoms without being a dangerous asshole. The next time you consider calling a protester who is exercising their rights safely a “snowflake”, you should reflect on how unsafe YOUR actions were on Sunday, April 19th in Helena, MT. 

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

Plains Feminist

Montana and national politics from a Southeastern Montana perspective, focusing on regional activism, womxn’s issues, LGBTQ equality, education, and growth of the Democratic Party. Plains Feminist tries (sometimes fruitfully, sometimes not so much) to connect with the hard-working folks who *eek* out a living on the “not mountains” side of the state. Plains Feminist enjoys intellectual banter over coffee or beer preferably after dark. You can reach her at or on Twitter @PlainsFeminist.


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  • Any high-stakes card game wants a ‘mark’ at the table. If you’re at that table, and can’t figure out who is the mark………’s you.

    As Plains Feminist points out, these low-wattage bulbs have magnified the odds of themselves contracting the virus; and they are in the process of magnifying the odds for their own families, neighbors, and friends.

    Turns out – stupidity is contagious.

  • Flattening the curve does not mean less disease and fewer deaths. The strategy is designed solely to reduce case load on hospitals and emergency personnel. Alternate epidemiological theory is that the healthy of the country should get out and be exposed since it is the young and vigorous who normally walk through the Wuhan virus without complications, and often without knowing they have it. Once the disease sweeps though the population, subsequent outbreaks are impossible, since the virus has fewer places to land. But hey, name calling and finger pointing are effective political tools, so I’ll just let you stew in your bile. By the way, the research by Stanford University Medical Center on the Santa Clara County, CA population backs up our opinion. The disease is here and the vast majority of the infected never knew they had it. Estimates are 48,000 to 81,000 residents carry the antibodies.

    • Steve – I’m going to address some of your claims.

      Incorrect: flattening the curve DOES result in fewer deaths because the medical system is not overwhelmed and medical personnel can treat patients. Once the system is overwhelmed and equipment is at a premium, then ventilators and other necessary equipment become rationed (what happened in Italy and Spain). Let’s avoid those unnecessary deaths, Ok?

      Correct: your theory of epidemiology is “alternative” and not accepted for COVID-19 by the medical community consensus. Alternative medicine is not medicine. Please visit with your doctor about any alternative medicine you are attempting with you and your family.

      Also, since we are using the correct terminology for things, the medical community is not calling it “Wuhan virus”. Let’s try and avoid racially-charged phrasing. Thanks.

      Partially correct: the medical and research community do not have enough data to speak on herd immunity and how high an antibody load is needed to achieve immunity, nor how long that immunity lasts. Your claims about outbreaks and immunity are unfounded at this time (hopefully that changes soon).

      The Stanford Medical study has been accused of improper methodology – let’s wait and see how that one study (that no one has been able to duplicate as of this writing) pans out before you base your opinions off of it.

      We have no formal numbers on antibody carries or infections in Montana as minimal infection tests have been conducted and NO antibody data exists for this state – again, we are going to have to wait on scientific data before we go running our mouths off.

      In conclusion – because there is not much known about this virus and there are many unknowns, the scientific community consensus is that social distancing works. And the numbers in Montana regarding deaths and infection rate are currently reflective of that consensus. That is why the medical community is urging people to stay home and to protect themselves and protect others. Which I would strongly encourage you to do – protect yourself and your family by limiting public exposure. And as more data becomes available, I am hoping (as I’m sure you are too) that we can continue to minimize Montana deaths and suffering.

  • Very well stated. I could not have said it better my self. And thank you for bringing the word “rube” back into the forefront of my mind. I had been trying to think of a more polite expression than “uneducated moron”.

  • Idiots survive some pretty stupid stuff they do… I hope all you screwballs get sick and figure out that what is happening is nothing to screw with!

  • Favorite sign at the protest shown in TV reports: “Social Distance=Communism.”

    I sure wonder what logic the protester used to come to that conclusion.

    • It has the word ‘social’ in it which means it’s socialist, which is the same as communism.

      Thank you for attending my TED talk.

  • It is regrettable that someone did not drop a net over those protesters while they were concentrated in one place. But then that net dropper would be faced with a nasty dilemma. What in the world would he do with them? Is there a smart spray that could be used to cure them?

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