“I’m not crazy about reality, but it’s still the only place to get a decent meal.”
Well, it didn't work. Despite my dire predictions that frogs will be in charge of eternally damning them, our tea-soaked county commissioners torpedoed the rock-bottom health care needs of over 400 low-income women and men (mostly women) by unequivocally refusing Title X funds that floated our Family Planning clinic. This latest, particularly sickening, example of their religious intolerance evoked yet another letter to the local papers (from me, below), but it also brings up some interesting parallel realities for us Montanans to ponder on.
The most dysfunctional Montana state legislature ended just a few months ago. Remember? It was so tea-soaked that the bottom fell out of the cardboard box these cruel AynRandians used to carry their lighter-than-air ideological fruitcakes around the halls of the Capitol that they would beat us over our heads and hearts with. One successful fruitcake they whupped us with was their denial of Medicaid coverage for over 70,000 low-income Montanans, while at the same time refusing tens of millions of healthcare dollars that would have come into our state, but now will be spent elsewhere[i]. They were very, very proud of this sanguinary achievement, which was predictable in a way only to those living in the same Bizarro World these folks reside in[ii], since this cruel act was one of the only things they did get accomplished.
That's because Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed most of their worst bills, including their passage through both houses of:
· A bill that would have refused Title X funds statewide.
· A bill that would have allowed develop(er)mentally-challenged county commissioners to consider only "adjacent agriculture" rather than agriculture as a whole when they ache to approve a mega-subdivision or five, which our commissioners dearly and always do ache to do[iii].
Consider: If Title X funds had been refused statewide, these commissioners would not have had to insult a whole valley by refusing our local share of it all by their self-righteous selves, and their meeting room would not have been filled to the brim FOUR times in a week and a half with passionate people who maybe for the first time saw them for the American Taliban that they truly are. Simultaneously, if “adjacent agriculture” had become the law of Montana when it came to considering subdivisions, these commissioners would not have been lying through their teeth to an equally numerous (and different) outraged public when they approved Legacy Supersized Subdivision by saying to the good folks who showed up at their various packed meetings to condemn Legacy that they could only comment on “adjacent agriculture” and then turning around and say—in true upside-down Bizzarro World Speak—that they really meant “all that agriculture stuff since that’s what we were legally supposed to mean so shut up and go back to your minimum wage job so you can pay for your own heathcare you lazy welfare cheats”[vi]
Thus, in one swell foop, as Marx would say, our Inestimable Ones managed to unequivocally demonstrate to the entire valley now paying keen attention to their antics that the only reason these fundamentalist warriors running our county are in their positions of power is solely and exclusively because they are bought and paid for by deep-pocketed, out-of-state and even out-of-country development interests who have always polluted our local politics, interests who always have preferred compromised individuals to thinking rational beings when it comes to getting what they want out of local taxpayers. The peas, as everyone should see by now, are in the same pod. Discounting denial—which we should-- if you don’t like political theocrats, then you don’t like developer puppets. If you, Montana Heartland of Rural America, think you can have Tea Party politicians push back against that mean ol’ gubmint without turning the religio-bigoted dogs of hate loose on your dogs[vii] and your land, think again.
And maybe we finally are, which is the only silver lining around the black cloud these (fill in blank) s conjured up for us to plow through.
Just for a little icing on the cake for anyone STILL in doubt: here are a couple of rumors to chew on. Commissioner Suzy, the one who first said she consulted God about her Title X decision and then changed her story to read “it’s all about my concern for the U.S. government going broke”[viii] seems to have been using her tenure as a public official (with publicly-funded health benefits!) to file Workman’s Comp claims to cover a number of expensive operations she apparently claims are the result of her achingly hard physical job of pontificating from a soft swivel chair behind a commissioner’s meeting room desk[ix]. Commissioner Jeff, another one of our other Defenders of Virginal Purity and Other Chivalric Fictions who also receives our publicly funded health benefits, may have been finding the Title X Family Planning Clinic in Missoula much to his satisfaction for services provided to his wife (yet another Ravalli Co. Republican Central Committee member). We will be quizzing them on these and other apparent discrepancies in their famous moral fortitude applied to others but not to them[x]. Stay tuned.
Anyone who’s reading this would sensibly think I was making all this up. Well, would that I were. But I’m not, and I have this to say to any of you who live in Ravalli County or live elsewhere:
Beware your local apocalyptic teabaggers. They’re Marxists[xi].
Sent to the Bitterroot Star and the Ravalli Republic
With the Ravalli County commissioners’ latest two “in-your-face” decisions still fresh in the horrified public’s mind—Legacy Ranch and Title X--a few things should be pretty clear by now:
· The “Tea Party” movement is deeply based in theocracy.
· Theocrats, by definition, tend to be authoritarians.
· Authoritarians are generally either unstable or just plain dishonest, and should never, ever be given the keys to the car or to county government.
· “Tea Party” theocrats such as our commissioners are demonstrably joined at the hip with entrenched moneyed interests, both locally and nationally. Most of them would never have gained their seats of power if not for deep-pocketed benefactors who prefer to purchase local tinpot dictators to carry their water as opposed to actual public servants.
· Just because someone self-describes herself as a “patriot” doesn’t mean she has the best interests of We The People in mind, or even that she or he remotely believes in any of the basic democratic tenets one usually associates with our American brand of patriotism.
· Just because a “Tea Party patriot” loves his or her freedom, there’s no reason on God’s green earth to believe that he or she loves yours.
Title X and Legacy Ranch are by no means the only time this commission has crossed the red line into the trendy make-believe world where Tea Party dictators reside. Their reckless style of governing—most-recently displayed with Title X and Legacy Ranch--has been going on for the whole three years since local extremists coupled with local and statewide development interests deposited four tinpot theocrats into our local seats of power (three commissioners and a county attorney).
If you’re still inclined to doubt, consider that Cronyism is the hallmark of authoritarian regimes. It has to be by definition. Who else, after all, can tinpots trust except their cronies?
And voila! Through fiat appointments and hirings, our Ravalli County government is now almost the mirror image of the local Republican Central Committee. In fact, the commissioners latest outrage against representative government was the hiring of RCC precinct captain Valerie Stamey to the elected position of county treasurer at $50,000-plus a year WITH PUBLICLY-FUNDED HEALTH BENEFITS at almost the very second they denied that same amount of money to cover the rock-bottom healthcare needs of over 400 low-income women![xii]
This kind of know-nothing cronyism crudely clothed in “patriotism” currently threatens our county, our state and our entire nation. It’s on full display everywhere, and has been our local tinpots’ hallmark ever since day one. It’s far past time we all pay more attention to what these people are really saying, and more importantly, what they really mean[xiii].
[iii] It’s infinitely easier for a developer-friendly commission to blow off “adjacent agriculture” concerns than agricultural concerns as a whole. Basically, if the developer keeps his fences on her side of the property line, Agriculture’s case is happily dismissed and full bulldozers ahead!
[v]“Q. What do you get when you cross an insomniac, an agnostic and a dyslexic?
A. Someone who stays up all night wondering if there is a Dog.” G. Marx
[vi] This is one of the counts in the Bitterrooters For Planning lawsuit against them, and I’m paraphrasing, since what they actually said didn’t make any sense.