Bible Thumpers and Tree Humpers, Unite!
A great opportunity to fight back against the Borg's divide and conquer tactic.
Earlier this summer I picked up a copy of the Bitterroot Sun, our local, weekly free paper. As usual, I skimmed the articles and ads on pages 1,2, and 3 and turned to the letters to the editor, which they call the opinion section. The Sun used to print all letters and at two pages plus I think there may have been a higher total word count in those letters than in the articles produced by the local, tiny Sun staff. Now, for better and worse, this section is curated and it’s down to one page. There will be fewer unpolished, vapid rants but also fewer letters that boldly venture outside the Overton Window.
In a letter to the editor from Rachel Smith, I learned that there are shady corporate interests in Canada aiming to mine a section of wilderness for ‘rare’ earth elements near the headwaters of the Bitterroot, via a shell company in Vancouver B.C., with the intentionally misleading name, U.S. Critical Metals. Mrs. Smith is an excellent writer and she made a case against the mining interests that looked pretty air tight. Her piece prompted me to go to a town-hall meeting in Hamilton back in late spring where numerous anti-mining speakers presented their findings and thoughts on the Sheep Creek mine.
My interest in writing this stack is not to talk about the anti-mining arguments, though I’ll get to that in a future post. I think the case against this mine is a slam dunk, and from what I’ve heard in person and anecdotally, nobody on either side of the political divide, who has just a cursory understanding of what this mining project portends, is for it. You can take my word for it or you can see all the reasons here or here. Both links provide great information. I’m a little more keen on promoting the first link, as the website is geared toward the Sheep Creek mining issue alone, and they have no other axes to grind. The second link is great too but they are global warmists and therefore less likely to have bipartisan appeal.
It is this bipartisan appeal I’d like to discuss on this post, and the nature of activism and the idea of solidarity on certain issues.
So, if for the sake of argument you can go out on a limb and assume that the Bitterroot shouldn’t be turned into a giant superfund site, here are a couple recent anecdotes that I find relevant to any bipartisan cause.
Keen on seeing what I could do to help, I managed to get in touch with Ms. Smith and set up a meeting at a local brewery. We had a great talk, discussed strategy and tactics, upcoming meetings, the people involved, etc. I’ll only mention one part of our conversation.
Dan- Hmmm. This Sheep Creek, being so close to the Idaho border, I wonder if we can’t get some support from folks down in Salmon.
Rachel threw her head back and rolled her eyes. “Uhhh! Salmon! No way!”
Dan- You think they’re not interested?
Rachel- It’s Idaho! You know how many die hard Trumpers are in Idaho? These people make trips to the capitol in Boise to burn masks!
The implication of course is that Idahoans are so reactionary right wing and tin-foil nutty, you couldn’t possibly work with them on a worthy environmental cause.
Hey Rachel, do you realize that I’m one of those anti-mask nuts? And yet, because of your beautiful letter, here I am, ready to put on the armor.
Later in our conversation I asked her if, just for the sake of winning this battle against the mining interests keen on extracting mineral wealth from our valley and almost certainly leaving behind a toxic mess, she would be willing to make common cause with even the most ardent ‘Magatards’. She said, “Absolutely, yes.” I guess she thinks she’s willing to bury the hatchet for one cause at least but the idiot Trumpers would never do the same.
Then on the other side, there’s a local group of guys in the neighborhood who meet weekly in someone’s garage to drink beer or whiskey and just shoot the breeze. Most of these guys are retired or semi-retired; I might be the youngest one there. At the last whiskey meet-up, opposition to the Sheep Creek mine came up. Big Rich Baldridge, a former cop, playing the wise, (self-fulfilling) prophet, spoke up first. “Good luck with that. If you’re going up against big money, consider it a lost cause.”
That was the consensus among this group of world-wise, no-nonsense retirees from around the country who’d come to Montana to escape whatever woke dystopia they’d spent their working life in. Geographically, this group represented a diverse slice of America; each of the 3 west-coast states was represented, as well as the midwest and southeast.
I asked for confirmation- “Are you guys sure this project can’t be stopped?”
All around there were head shakes, shrugs, chuckles and expressions that said, “Whattya gonna do?” And none of these guys wanted the mine here in the Bitterroot.
I said, “I don’t know. The case against this mine seems like a slam dunk to me. And plus, we’ve got both sides of the political spectrum voicing their opposition to this. This has bipartisan support. It might be harder for them to proceed if the entire populace is opposed.
Brian Linderman repeated what Rich had said- “You’re not going to win against big money.” Brian looked at my crestfallen expression and said, “Hey, I don’t want the mine either. I know we have support on both sides for this. And you know something? If I get the chance to protest this mine, I’ll go protest with the lefties. But I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna look those stupid liberals right in the eye and say, ‘You see what your [f’n] electric cars got us?’”
-You’re going to tell them that?
'-Damn right I am!
Folks, this is a golden moment. We’ve been divided for so long, especially during the last few years. Just for this particular effort, LET’S LET BYGONES BE BYGONES, AT LEAST UNTIL THE MINE PROJECT IS QUASHED! I mean for crying out loud, are you going to give your mechanic a political purity test before he fixes your brakes, or let him do the job?
This crushing spirit of inevitableism is in part due to the belief that common ground can never be achieved. How about we hold off on despising our neighbor until we win this one battle, and then we can resume our mutual animosities, or… perhaps hold off even a little longer in case there’s another cause we need to stand together on, and we can keep kicking the fratricide can down the road until we see our commonalities outnumber our differences.
The powers that shouldn’t be have been playing divide and conquer for a long time. Ultimately, your enemy isn’t necessarily the neighbor down the street who voted for the wrong guy. It’s those higher up who want us divided. That phony shell company in Vancouver, BC, pretending to be an American outfit, wants us divided.
Let’s fight back.
UNITE AND RECONQUER!
PS: I’m planning my first BBR interview later this week. Topic: Sheep Creek Mine
Thank you photographers!
Lee Metcalf Bitterroot: By USFWS Mountain-Prairie - January Ice Fog, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48047276
Near Darby with hills: By Forest Service Northern Region from Missoula, MT, USA - npnht-bitterroot-river-near-darby-montana-06022012-rogermpeterson-008, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46787382
Bit in winter: By USFWS Mountain-Prairie - Bitterroot River in Winter, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48047296
Fall colors glassy: By Forest Service Northern Region from Missoula, MT, USA - npnht-chief-looking-glass-state-park-near-florence-montana-october-2011-rogermpeterson-019, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46787359
Near Metcalf beautiful sky: By John David Stutts - Own work, CC BY 1.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22028338
Near Lolo: By Forest Service Northern Region from Missoula, MT, USA - npnht-bitterroot-river-near-lolo-montana-october-2011-rogermpeterson-006, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46787356
Trapper peak: By G. Thomas at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32890389