For my money, Miles City, Montana, has little to recommend it. With its alternating mottos—“Less Meth than Glendive” and “Only 110 miles to North Dakota”—this eastern Montana hamlet is a dusty town in the middle of badlands that was once the country’s center of horse trading. It still has an auction and the annual Bucking Horse Sale, where rodeo people buy stock that will challenge any rider to stay atop for eight seconds.
There’s also the Cowtown BBQ Cookoff and, according to Tripadvisor, of the top ten things to do in Miles City, two involve going to church.
Like all small towns in the west there is a favorite cafe where regulars sit in their usual places and stare down out-of-towners. There are more cowboy hats than baseball caps at the 600 Café, a decidedly Republican joint with both table and counter service. It is known for its deep-fried side pork that looks menacingly from the plate on which it’s served. Along with fried eggs, hashbrowns, and homemade biscuits and gravy, it is a breakfast guaranteed to leave measurable plaque deposits in one’s veins.
Greg Kmetz, the first-term Legislator in the Montana House, is a Republican of the once-rogue nature. He has thus far sponsored bills that would 1) Revise laws to protect religious expression for students and teachers; 2) Revise laws related to religious materials and prayer in schools; and, 3) Repeal licensing of hucksters.
I’m not sure what Kmetz means by the term “huckster.” I think of it as a small-time peddler who sells objects of little value. Sort a role model for Donald Trump, writ large. I also didn’t know that peddlers could even be licensed in Montana.
And now Rep. Kmetz wants to make it easier for these people to ply their trades. Snake oil, anybody?
He is also the sponsor of HB645, a bill whose passage would penalize folks in Montana vaccinated against COVID-19 who knowingly donate blood, tissue, organs, etc. Also anyone who knowingly uses, receives, transports, ships, etc., said blood. So we now see that Kmetz is a QAnon theorist and self-described Christian who is frequently awakened by images of Bill Gates implanting little things in our genes.
I have issues with everything he endorses, especially the whole blood and tissue donations. In the course of three major surgeries in five days a few years back, I received twenty-two units of blood. They saved my life. Period. I’m assuming that the blood donors were probably vaccinated against any number of childhood maladies. I’m glad, and I’m not in the least worried about what might have been transferred to me.
A fear of modern medical science should not permeate political beliefs.
Although Kmetz has yet to weigh in on House Bill 359, sponsored by Rep. Braxton Mitchell, R-Columbia Falls, I’ll bet that the banning of drag performances in public schools, libraries and public properties “in any location” when a minor is present, is within his wheelhouse. Republicans have become modern-day Victorians who worry that somebody somewhere is having a good time.
I’ve been to a couple of drag shows that were great fun. They weren’t in public spaces, and I don’t recall any children being there. I’ve watched a little of Ru Paul, whom I find faintly ridiculous, but am inspired to help my grandkids find great Halloween costumes. I’ve also been to a few strip shows, including the ones for which I played drums in Cleveland. Boom-ba-da-boom!
I’m assuming that most of the state’s Republican lawmakers are eagerly looking forward to banning books that may not be to their liking. If we had an electorate that was capable of critical thinking and had been exposed to the entire and accurate history of the United States, we’d not have a Republican in office–especially those really nasty ones who constantly remind the American people that they are the party of Lincoln.
We seem to be at a critical juncture in our history, although that might be true at any juncture.
Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis is single-handedly dismantling the educational opportunities in The Sunshine State. Books are disappearing from school shelves at a rapid pace and Black history is being revised to reflect a sense that slavery wasn’t altogether a bad thing.
DeSantis is a “new age” Republican in that he embraces the ideals of the Far Right and has been remarkably quiet in support of Ukraine. A student of Putin autocracy, DeSantis is akin to Trump but smarter, and is therefore far more dangerous.
It’s curious to note that Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, published 138 years ago, changed the course of children’s literature in the United States with its “deeply felt portrayal of boyhood.” It is also known for its colorful descriptions of people and places along the Mississippi River and is an often scathing satire on entrenched attitudes, particularly racism and freedom…
Got to keep that one out of children’s hands. They might discover truths on its pages.
And while we’re at it, we desperately need to make sure that our children don’t see Robin Williams in “The Bird Cage” or “Mrs. Doubtfire.”
Dangerous stuff. Or so the Republicans might make us think.
Photo illustration by Courtney A. Liska
Heat oven to 425 degrees
2 cups flour (sifted)
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
3/4 stick of butter (cold)
Mix dry ingredients together
Grate or chop the cold butter into small pieces
Add milk and butter to the flour
Knead into a ball
Roll or pat dough to 1/4 ”
Fold in 1/2 and do that 2 more times
Cut into circles and place on a buttered cookie sheet 1″ apart
Bake for 12-15 minutes
Bob Schleicher says
Great column! Spot on as usual!