Tribalization at a Local Level

Real leadership is exemplified by doing the right thing without succumbing to pressure

By Robert Grimaldi

The dispute between Flathead County and the City of Whitefish is but a microcosm of the divisiveness leading to the tribalization or Balkanization of America. It is not uncommon for litigation to become the weapon of choice in public and private disagreements. The winner in such disputes does not entirely resolve issues. More often than not it leads to further enmity and creates a ‘get even’ mentality. In unity there is strength but unity can also be destructive just as change is not always for the better. Whenever a determined unwillingness to resolve an issue or see the other fellow’s viewpoint predominates in the mindset there can be no conciliation. Tristan Scott’s article in the May 24 Beacon, “Divided We Plan,” indicates that the loggerhead between the county and the city is a case in point.

Kalispell with its burgeoning commercialization appears to be a threat to the chic boutique image Whitefish wishes to preserve. So-called progress can be beneficial or harmful, but it cannot be avoided. City and county leadership, driven by activists in both camps, appear to have made up their minds and will not budge. Real leadership is exemplified by doing the right thing without succumbing to pressure. Mayor John Muhlfeld states the proper attitude in the article’s closing paragraph. Hopefully his attitude will be contagious and have a positive effect on all of the players in this issue.

Robert Grimaldi
Columbia Falls

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