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No more room left to disagree?

| August 18, 2023 7:00 AM

Can you love your country if you hate half of the people in it, simply because they disagree with you?

Montana women had the right to an abortion by the State Constitution established in 1972. The Republicans in Helena disagreed.

In a general affront to Montana women, Attorney General Austin Knudsen and other Republicans want a 15-week ban and require medical practitioners in states where abortion is legal to provide women’s medical records to the State of Montana for prosecution.

Fortunately, the Montana Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional, but Republicans have demonstrated little respect for the rights of women.

Republicans have continually attacked the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ and transgender youth and their parents. Since most people are unaware of the challenges parents and young people experience, they have become a proverbial punching bag. The attack on Zooey Zephyr’s leadership on gender-affirming care in the State legislature is a classic example.

Republicans have constantly assailed brown-skinned immigrants from Latin America and the Middle East. People seeking a new life and opportunities at the southern border are stereotyped as criminals and drug smugglers. Some have been forcibly sent to northern states as part of Republican political stunts, getting high praise on Fox.

Under Republican leadership, children have been separated from their families and some have yet to be reunited. Factories and businesses have to hire minors because they don’t have enough migrant workers their businesses depend upon.

Republican attacks on teachers, administrators, school boards and public education in general should anger and frustrate anyone who believes all children have the right to be educated.

Banning books, or substituting right-wing propaganda as history or slavery as job training. Montana Republicans see no problem giving public taxes to corporate schools, depriving public schools of crucial funds. Montanans have always been able to establish charter schools, but not on the taxpayer’s dime.

Meanwhile, school buildings need repair and Montana teaching salaries are some of the lowest in the country.

Yet, Republicans see no problem establishing a system of “taxation without representation” for corporate schools to hide who they hire, what they teach, or if their students are even learning. This rationale has produced some of the worst school systems in the country, all in red states.

Republicans have attacked women’s personal freedom, people of color, immigrants, teachers, unions, libraries and gay and LGBTQ communities. One aspect of these attacks is their belief in a hierarchy of human values.

This is MAGA history Republicans want taught in schools. Critical thinking is dangerous to them. The Republican Party wants to censor books, people and the news programs they watch.

The MAGA world is flooded with propaganda about how white culture will be extinguished: “They’re coming for you. They’re coming for your culture…they’re coming for your way of life.”

They make it difficult for people to vote who don’t agree with them. And like former Governor Marc Racicot (who I voted for twice) or Adam Kinsinger or Liz Cheney, if they disagree, no matter what their pedigree, they are kicked to the curb.

Republican governors fly and bus border immigrants seeking freedom and a new life to blue states for photo ops on Fox and kudos from Trump and the MAGA faithful. It is apparent the MAGA faithful feel they have the right to do so, but the disrespect and hatred they demonstrate to women, educators and marginalized people make it difficult to take their claim of patriotism seriously.

David R. James, MA, Ph.D.

American History

Eureka, Montana