Let us aim to be a best place

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Days ago, I hunted up the reservoir. It had rained overnight, and larch needles and leaves had been falling. I took a road over a ridge to the south. As I reached the top, the road swung toward the southwest. Clouds brightened. I drove slowly. The landscape changed as the sun peeked through the clouds as I entered an opening. I saw a gold road, thick with larch needles. I stopped, whispering, “Oh, my God, look at this.” Every fallen log, stump, rock was gold. I was hunting, of course, but there were no tracks. I was glad. All seemed perfect, spiritual, quiet, beautiful. Peace.

I drove down the road, soft, gentle, due to a needle blanket. Below, clouds sat above Wolf Creek and Fisher River. Soon, I headed through those clouds and entered a dim environment of washboard roads, traffic, signs, reality. Yet, I had been in a Montana Last Best Place I’ll never forget.

My comforting memory lingered until I got a local newspaper and saw, again, the same proud, true Republican ad, “Republicans vs Others,” a shift into an ever darker place. I have thought about how to respond for days. Here’s my take.

I have been connected to this place for 70 years. Positive memories abound. When my wife Donna was fighting cancer, I answered a knock on my door. A friend asked, “Where do you want your wood stacked?” Outside were many pickups overflowing with wood, enough for several winters. No walls. Kindness, empathy.

Since returning to Libby, I have seen fundraisers for those needing medical support, churches and individuals helping to end domestic violence, hundreds of dollars spent to help children have school supplies, crowds attending a funeral out of respect for families and friends, gift programs for Christmas for those in need — the list could go on and on.

We are a good place. The question becomes are we a best place?

Consider your statement, “We support those whom we believe to be true Republicans ... ” Evidently, there is a split as you imply there are “untrue” republicans, called by a comment I overhead as being RINOs, Republicans In Name Only. Your mission is to divide apparently. Welcome to being “Others,” you RINOs wherever you are. Let both true republicans and others search for peace.

“Adequate funding of education.” Adequate is vague. You use words like responsible, strong, secure, wise as key to other positions. Adequate education might be keeping the heat and lights on. Our children are our future. “Make Public Education Great Again.” Let us search for peace.

Here’s a scenario for those who created this ad. Imagine a mom and dad whose daughter is pregnant. She is conflicted. She understands her options. Mom and dad might be thinking “grandchild.” Daughter is thinking “my future.” She chooses abortion with her parents’ support. Four years later she is a college graduate, married, and has a daughter and her parents have a grandchild. Should she and her parents be labeled “others,” thereby shamed, judged, cast out of redemption? Let us search for peace.

Responsible government? All of us are the government, my dear true republicans. What do most of us want locally? Here’s a list: jobs; health insurance; local doctors and access to a good hospital; water and sewer and garbage services; good roads; good local schools; well-trained law enforcement and fire department; parks and recreation; access to public lands; mental health facilities; strategies to address domestic violence and drug addiction; etc.

You are representatives of us; therefore, you are accountable. Fund government enough to assist local and state needs. Let us search for peace.

Consider this from Mother Teresa: “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

Let us aim to be a best place.

Marv Sather is a resident of Libby.

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