We Montanans love our public lands – they are, in fact, the reason that many of us live here. We are unbelievably fortunate here in Montana to have so much beautiful valuable land of all types wide open to our multiple uses – the rest of the world envies us.
Sports men and women in particular benefit from public land access for our hunting and fishing pleasure. However, we somehow avoid addressing the elephant in the room – it is always Republicans, not Democrats, that pressure state and federal agencies to divest or depreciate public lands. They want your public lands in private hands – end of story. Just check the voting records.
However, supporting a Democrat can seem scary to gun owners – should we risk voting for the party that wants to take our deer rifles just to protect public lands? As a risk assessment, this is an extremely false equivalency – Democrats can’t even get universal background checks to a floor vote, whereas Republican state legislators are already slowly and quietly moving inconspicuous public land holdings throughout the West into private hands. The pressure mounts daily for bigger divestitures. Long story short, the risk to public lands is huge whereas the risk to your gun rights is scarcely a radar blip, Wayne LaPierre notwithstanding.
The Republican interest in public lands is in no way surprising – the party that despises government also believes that nothing should exist in the public domain that could be a profit center or source of enjoyment for the moneyed class (the free market). Hence, the constant drive to privatize schools, prisons, the VA, Social Security, health care, and our public lands.
Greg Gianforte promises not to jeopardize our public lands, but Mr. Gianforte is a Republican. If he pays enough money to win this election, he will eventually side with his wealthy Republican counterparts in Congress and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to chip away at our public lands. Whatever he might say now will mean nothing later. Rob Quist is one of us and a progressive Democrat who will vote to keep our public lands public for us and future generations, as Democrats always do. Once our public lands are gone, we won’t ever get them back. Keep that in mind when you go to the polls.
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