Keep the Faith

Help your family, friends and community

By Mike Jopek

The wind was mad. It swung the trees wildly and howled throughout the farm. The gust grew unnervingly strong as winter blustered through Montana. Thousands of homes valley wide lost power, some for several days as local crews worked to restore electricity.

Toward the end of January, winter has yet to turn too mean. There’s time and not enough snow to blanket the raspberries and currents on the farm. Hopefully the freeze-thaw cycles aren’t overbearing and winter-kill is light.

Off the farm the sprites were unleashed by the demons to rampage, riot, and insurrect. We must exhibit better behavior, return to decency and unity. There are new men and women running things, the other guys lost. It feels harrowing, but truth is the key to democracy. We hold facts as undeniable.

The rioters and politicians that keep promoting personal responsibility behave like it doesn’t apply to them and should pause for a breath. It’s time to get on with the hard work of governing, the job of civil society.

History has judged us, today and into the future. Good people can help heal a nation and “love the sinner, hate the sin.” I know there’s plenty to dislike.

President Joe Biden and Gov. Greg Gianforte are the newest Americans to hold the reins of our power. They love our state and nation. Their job is to move us forward with kind, steadfast leadership, shepherding us into the next decade for our state and nation, hopefully with a gentle heart.

Some of you might be annoyed I said Biden, a bunch mad I said Gianforte, and the last lot can’t afford the time because we’re busy dealing with that pandemic, earning a living, trying to pay the rent, and feed the family.

We’re a nation of laws. We may not like it, but there’s no us versus them, we’re all Montanans. It will take unity to govern and keep the dream of a better America alive. It won’t come easy. It never was free of work or stress.

Seems some people have become radicalized over the past years and see little benefit to working it out. The rest of us like our hometown, state, and nation. We strongly believe in democratic ideals like justice.

Better days won’t magically appear. It will take time, hard work, cooperation, and a willingness to govern to make life better. We all have a role in civil society, an obligation. Many social media algorithms suddenly say that cousins are mad at cousins and we forgot how to talk. It’s time to heal.

It feels like large swaths of us won’t much like the policies that legislators in Helena are pushing our way and into our hometowns. Policymakers in the Legislature seem poised to ram through dangerous restrictions on young transgender rights and women’s healthcare, cut needed public services and lavish tax breaks on the few.

Who knows what else. It’s got all the makings of one ugly Session. One with possible ramifications for decades to follow. You should help and do the work of democracy. Write letters, offer testimony, organize for the future, peacefully protest, or help enact the good stuff.

The job on the homefront is more work, being kind and true. You know there’s much goodness in your life. You see it every day on the faces of the people around town and hear it in the voices of the decent.

Help your family, friends and community. Keep your faith and be willing to speak up when your time is right. It will come. You’ll know when. Be kind about it.

As lawmakers are governing in Helena, the next cycle of democracy is headed into city elections in Whitefish, Columbia Falls, and Kalispell. It’s time you lead the way.

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