This Time, This Place

Candidates currently vying to lead our municipalities should take this opportunity and paint a vision for where we are going

By Mike Jopek

I’ve spent too much time thinking about it. I don’t like it. It’s disturbing. This take-it-all politics has permeated into every crook and cranny. The national media thrives in it. Outrage is the new national normal. It’s exhausting.

That’s the point. Make politics so ugly that reasonable people tune out.

Many of us are more solutions oriented. In a theater where everything has to be perfect, merely good policies may never see the light of day.

Younger voters have had enough. These citizens are articulate and smart. Admire that tenacity, the desire, and the demand for change.

Connie Schultz, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning columnist, recently posted a personal Twitter note in which she wrote, “In the last days of Mom’s life, I blubbered an apology for being so full of opinions. She took my hand and said, ‘Honey, you’re who I wanted to be.’”

Schultz continued, “I often think of that in reading views of so many young women. I don’t always agree, but I love their insistence on being heard.”

The persistence, the resolve, and the doggedness are what help makes America great. America is a decent nation, a good place with great people who can easily handle multiple opinions and ways of life.

Locally we seem isolated from much of the Washington, D.C. nonsense. But we hear plenty. It’s really hard to ignore.

When that line is crossed, when the blowhards retort nonsense about race or hate, call it out. Use your voice or the law; it’s powerful and more successful than violence.

Organize, find unity, and vote. It’s the only way forward.

When it’s all said and done, that good life lived, the things that matter seem to be more about relationships, memories and laughter.

Yet politicians want us in an identity box. This guy is a capitalist, that one a socialist, and that one a fascist. He’s straight, she’s queer, and their identity in flux. It doesn’t work.

I’m older. A big, white, middle-aged man sporting blue eyes and blond hair. What do I know? Trust me, I could tell some stories to knock a few socks off.

But try. It’s what’s needed. It’s what we ask of others. Try to be nice. Talk things out. Accept divergent opinions. We simply won’t go back. There’s no going back. We’re moving forward. We will evolve, just fine. It will be OK.

Locally there are many challenges that face families across the Flathead. In some ways the obstacles feel insurmountable. They’re not. We can fix things and enjoy our freedoms and liberties.

Respect and a bit of vision, a remembrance that change routinely involves a younger mind and will move us forward. Try giving nonsense a break. Turn off the internet. Whoa, that’s not gonna happen.

The blowhards will blow into the wind. The demagogues will gossip about us all. And the partisans will party on.

Our solutions are local.

We hardly care if you’re left or right in politics, we care if you’re kind. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, but rather that you have a voice and work hard to make town better.

The candidates currently vying to lead our municipalities should take this opportunity and paint a vision for where we are going. What will the next decade bring to us? How will you lead?

We feel Flathead’s lack of housing opportunity relative to low wages and traffic so thick at times you can’t make a left turn in town.

Bare your soul a bit and articulate with words why citizens should trust you. Be pragmatic, have courage, yet be visionary. Be heard. It matters to society and our kids. This time, this place belongs to all of us.

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