Montana Politics

Montana Students Respond to Calls for Segregation

Written by Nathan Kosted
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The kids are alright.

In response to an announcer calling for racial segregation of basketball tournaments in Montana high school students showed unity and resolve. See video below.

We must listen to the next generation, empower them, and follow their lead.

The kids showed the adults today who is more powerful and what is more powerful. The next generation has the power, the power is unity over hatred, over divisiveness, over the intentional efforts of Steve Bannon to create a rift along visual lines of difference along status quo challenging lines.

Steve Bannon wants to use transgender youth as a prop to make you lower the Koch Brothers taxes. Steve Bannon wants to make you hate migrant workers so coal companies don’t have regulations. Steve Bannon is willing to do anything so that he may feel powerful.

Don’t let Steve Bannon win. Follow the lead of the kids. Lock arms and make them take us on together and not divided. They cannot beat us together so they will continue to try and divide us.

(The radio host who made comments in favor or racially segregated basketball tournaments has been suspended.)

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Here’s what I’m seeing. People getting organized on their own.

I’m seeing teachers, nurses, carpenters, waitresses, dishwashers, college students, cancer patients, attorneys, high school kids, Big Sky Rising groups, Love Lives Here, folks waiting for liver and kidney transplants and everyday Montanans, hardworking, fair, kind folks coming together to say absolutely not. This is not what Montana and America stand for. We are defining our America, our Montana.

Montana is about helping each other, about struggling together, about succeeding with your neighbors despite the challenges. These folks are fighting for change because their lives depend on it and the country they know depends on them fighting.

I say shame on those who denigrate the people doing the work. Those who can see what is happening currently with the administration should know better. You are seeing people organize around shared values, around what we know Montana and America to be.

Whether they organize to make sure they aren’t denied health care due to a pre-existing condition or they organize for others who are being harmed by illegal raids, illegal border controls, or unprecedented politicization of the military. Or if they tweet the President and ask for a conversation on transgender rights.

We organize because we care. For no other reason am I writing this blog, for no other reason am I calling my senator (The disgusting Steve Daines-202-224-2651), for no other reason have community groups sprung up, flourished and organized themselves. No one is guiding this resistance, it is citizens, with jobs, organizing in their spare time, retirees, students, it is everyone from every walk of life, rich to poor, native, black, white, latino, lesbian, straight, trans, bi, gay, abled and disabled, women, men, genderqueer, octagenarians, middle-agers, and especially the young.

The young have the most reason to be mad, but they’re not mad, they’re energized. They don’t know how far we’ve fallen, but they know where we could go. I’ve been organizing with one young man a teenager, Ian, who is relentless. He organized a student walkout in response to Daines voting for DeVos on 18 hours notice. He helped organize the impromptu town hall that greeted Daines at the Bozeman airport recently. He went back to Helena even after Daines cancelled and rescheduled his speech to the legislature. He organized. He networked. He has been putting me to work for him!

I’ve been organizing with Cherilyn in the Flathead, we strategize and plan and try to keep each other sane. I’ve organized with young folks in Billings, I’ve organized with people completely new to politics all over the state. The Gallatin Progressive Action Network is the vanguard of the movement, forcing Daines to listen at every turn, training citizen activists, holding rallies, protests, getting in the streets and causing some good trouble.

Many in the media are working very hard, others are just mouthpieces for the president. Trump quotes Breitbart and later today NRA TV starts broadcasting. This means we have state run media. This is how the road to authoritarianism starts. For all our work and victories over the last few weeks we have not stopped the rapid progression into a society that is controlled by Bannon and co. We must fight on. Organize together.

We must always be there for each other. I want to see advocates for our public lands supporting Planned Parenthood and I want to see Planned Parenthood standing against climate change. We must come together. Unions must stand up for the LGBTQ community. Teachers must stand up for voting rights and we all need to start talking to our neighbors.

Are you more afraid of the possible uncomfortable silences from your discussions or with latino domestic violence victims and latinos in hospitals being rounded up, raided, and having their papers checked at every turn?

Can you live with your complicit silences?

Meanwhile, coal ash is being dumped in our rivers, climate change doom is growing exponentially, Wall Street reform is being gutted, lower taxes on the extraordinarily wealthy, Bannon’s insane Nazi tendencies, Miller’s tyrannical declarations about god-emperor Trump, oh but please keep talking about Sweden and other stories. These made up stories are actually what they want you talking about because then you’re talking about attacks.

When they misspell words, don’t point it out, that’s where they want your attention, when they waive a hand over here, the other hand is signing executive orders to put more black or latino people in prison, or steal women’s healthcare or attack our LGBTQ friends, loved ones, and neighbors.

Lifting sanctions on Russia is the ultimate goal. The whole administration is tied to the oil and gas industry.

Or is actually the leader of the oil and gas industry, Rex Tillerson, the Exxon CEO and part-time Secretary of State.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters has it right when she calls this whole gang “scumbags.”

The best part, none of us are being compensated, we’re not employed to fight for our rights. That just what we do as citizens, we stand up to injustice, our only reward is our togetherness, the hope we can bring each other between CNN alerts or tweets from a madman meant to distract and divide us.

By all means look at the shiny, sensational thing, not the citizens in the streets demanding town halls with their senators and congressmen.

By all means please be distracted by the shiny thing, not Flynn and Russia, Nazi activities, hate crimes, illegal raids, the exponential destruction of the rule of law by those who seem to have no connection to reality, compassion, or empathy.

What we need to be talking about is organizing. The grassroots groups springing up in every corner of this state and country. See message below about groups in Montana coordinating and coming together to work together in unity.

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Big Sky Rising – Indivisible MT – Open Source MT – March on Montana

Missoula Rises – Gallatin Progressive Action Network

Our goal is to streamline our efforts, reduce redundancy, create solidarity and be able to mobilize on key issues via consistent communication.

While each group can and likely will have additional focuses unique to the goals of each group or area, we have agreed to focus on these three next steps together:

1. Special Election regarding Zinke’s vacant seat
2. Rally: Bring the Town Hall to Senator Daines (Helena and Statewide)
3. Rally: Healthcare/ACA Rally, February 25th prompted by Senator Tester and Senator Sanders

Additionally, we will be helping members get training resources relating to:

canvassing
know your rights
civil disobedience

This group of leaders is committed to communication structure via technology.

These websites contain both action items AND events.

Events posted on these four websites will be coordinated:

www.missoularises.com

www.bigskyrising.net

http://opensourcemt.org/

www.womensmarchmontana.com

www.indivisiblemt.com

About the author

Nathan Kosted

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