by Pat Hessman
[This is a guest post by Bozeman columnist Pat Hessman, who also writes a satirical culture column called The Sugarbeet (because Onions make your breath smell) for The Exponent.--Cowgirl]
In a shocking move, a bill imposing segregation on non-native Montana residents fast-tracked its way through the Montana Legislature last week. The bill enacts sweeping legal changes, including separate restrooms, drinking fountains and the imposition that out-of-staters, referred to in the bill as “Outies,” must submit themselves to four years of indentured servitude on cattle ranches to gain residency. Continue reading
Kudos to Montana educators are in order after a group of Kalispell high school students easily demonstrated they had a superior understanding of the U.S. Constitution than school administrators.
At issue is the attempt by Flathead High School school administrators to force a student to change her t-shirt saying, “Legalize Gay,” or go home. Her fellow students organized a protest. They got other students to wear t-shirts with the same “Legalize Gay” message. Other students scarily made their own message t-shirts.
Perhaps school administrators were afraid because the bosses at the Montana Republican party re-adopted an official position at their most recent platform convention in support of making gay people “illegal.” Why none of them were able to figure out that the Montana Supreme Court struck down laws that made it illegal to be gay in 1997 is unknown.
The school had tried to claim the shirts were the equivalent of ”advertising pornography” and therefore that they had the right to ask the student to take off the shirt. I guess the school administrators didn’t realize that Constitutional rights apply to all American citizens–including students. As the ACLU reports:
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that students could wear black armbands to school in protest of the Vietnam War. “Schools,” wrote Justice Abe Fortas, “may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. Students and teachers do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of expression at the schoolhouse gates.”
More recently, a federal judge in Florida ruled in favor of students in a case very similar to the situation in Kalispell. In that case, the principal of Ponce de Leon High School testified that he believed clothing or stickers featuring rainbows would make students automatically picture gay people having sex, and banned the wearing of any clothing with rainbows on it or any other show of support for gay people.
Upon learning of a potential presidential vacation to Whitefish, Montana, State Rep. Derek Skees, R TEA-
Whitefish Kalispell, organized a group of right wingers with
“volunteers supplying a truck and trailer, sound system and entertainment to protest the visit.”
That’s just what the state needs.
Here’s a chance to show in the national media what an amazing tourism destination the Flathead area is. A chance to showcase that the area is such a great place to visit that even the President, who could go anywhere in the world, wanted to vacation here, and Skees does everything he can to drive people away by showing up with a bunch of TEA Party wingnuts to send the message that the nation’s first black President is less than welcome.
Obama cancelled the visit, though we don’t know if the angry mob of extremists waiting for him in an area known to be attracting paramilitary groups and whites supremacists from around the world was a factor. Skees apparently has given no thought to the detrimental effects his actions will have on how potential visitors and investors view Montana, as he appears to be planning to do this again -
“People mistakenly think that Whitefish is safe ground for liberalism, and we wanted to make sure the president knows he can’t come to our little town and expect there not to be a dissenting voice. A lot of us are upset with Obama’s policies,” Skees said. “We’re calling this a dry run. Now we know how to mobilize.”
This is the not the first incident of right-wingers working against the economy. The Realtors Association is also involved.
Three cheers to Flathead County Commissioner Joe Brenneman for not taking the bait offered to him by Chuck Denowh’s Better Government PAC. When Denowh paid close to $5000 to five different Flathead Valley radio stations to attack Brenneman in his re-election bid, Brenneman countered with this radio ad about talking the truth and staying out of the muck:
JOE BRENNEMAN NON ATTACK
Brenneman, a former college educated English teacher who returned to operate his family’s dairy farm, has spent a lifetime shoveling the you know what and cleaning out the barn when necessary. Kudos to him for recognizing what end of the cow Denowh’s been cozying up to, and staying out of the line of fire.
Keep up the great work, Joe!
Derek Skees, the House District 4 legislative candidate from the Flathead Valley who was spotted wearing the confederate flag in the Memorial day parade, had to come up with a new word in hopes of conveying how far to the right he really is (as if we haven’t figured it out already.)
On his Facebook page, Skees writes that he is a “RINOtarian,” which apparently means a Republican-In-Name-Only: only because he’s too far to the right to lower himself to being called a Republican (except, apparently, on the ballot in hopes of fooling uninformed rote-R voters).
It remains to be seen whether Flathead citizens, especially mainstream Republicans, will want someone this extreme as their Representative. My guess is that (given that Rehberg’s personal and special interest money means there is no Congressional race) Republicans will cross over and vote for mainstream Democrat Will Hammerquist.
In case you are wondering what the “Freedom Action Rally” might be, Skees himself described it thusly:
“We’re a social group that wears boxing gloves”
No word on whether or not he wears the tin hat in public.