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Gianforte's sin and the first stone

by The Daily Inter Lake
| May 30, 2017 4:00 AM

We saw (or heard) one Greg Gianforte on Wednesday night when he reacted with violence to the questioning of a reporter on the eve of the special congressional election.

We saw a totally different Greg Gianforte on Thursday night when he apologized.

“When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it. That’s the Montana way,” an emotional Gianforte said. “I should not have treated that reporter that way, and for that, ‘I’m sorry, Mr. Ben Jacobs.’”

We’ve known Gianforte for many years, and there is no doubt that the humble man who spoke from the heart Thursday is the person we know.

A majority of Montanans have picked Gianforte to represent them in Washington, D.C. Others are shocked or disappointed that he was elected despite his very obvious human weakness that was exhibited when he lost his temper.

We understand that disappointment, and hope and expect that we will never see a repeat performance from Congressman Gianforte of his violent outburst.

He represents all of Montana now, and must act accordingly.

We also remind our readers that they and the other citizens of Montana are the ones with the real power, not Gianforte. He will face re-election in just 18 months and we know that he will be held accountable not just for the misdemeanor assault he has been charged with, but for every vote he makes in Congress and his every action as our representative.

Beyond the personal responsibility that Gianforte bears for what happened Wednesday, we do believe that the incident reflects badly on our society as a whole. This is Montana, after all, where neighborliness is not just a word but a way of life. If political rancor has reached a fever pitch here (and we are talking about some of the comments we heard after the assault as well as Gianforte’s actions), then we need to engage in some serious soul-searching about how we intend to go forward as “one nation under God, indivisible.”

Let’s not look for easy answers or blame the other guy, but rather do the hard work of taking responsibility for our own part in the discord and continue to look for middle ground.